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11 Top Carnival Cruise Deals You Don’t Want to Miss

If there is anything better than a cruise, it’s getting a great deal on that trip. And if you’re looking for a deal, then Carnival is one of your best options.

Funnel on Carnival Celebration.

The cruise line is well-known for offering a lot of value, specifically with cruise fares that are generally lower than the competition. If you know what to look for, then you can hunt down trips that offer some ridiculously low pricing.

That’s why we searched Carnival’s schedule out more than a year from now to scout some of the most attractive deals in a variety of categories. From the least expensive cruises overall to great deals on cruise itineraries you don’t see every day, this list should give you a good idea of what sort of offers are out there.

How to Find Your Own Cruise Deal on Carnival

While we have a number of ideas below, if you want to find your own Carnival cruise deal then you can search Cruise Critic for deals here . To help narrow things down, we do have some suggestions on how to find the best offers.

Sail Older Ships The biggest and newest ships get lots of buzz and publicity, but they also generally carry a higher price tag. That’s why if cost is a major factor for you, then look for cruises on older ships. Generally you can find similar cruises, but for less than taking a trip on the newest ship.

Sail When Kids Are in School Below, you may notice that many of the best deals sail in the fall. That’s not a coincidence. If you search, you’ll find that there’s a correlation between cruise prices and the school year. Sail during the summer, Christmas holidays, or Spring Break, and fares will be higher than sailing times like the fall or winter.

Price Doesn’t Mean Value One final thing to consider is that just because a price is low doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best value. In fact, we cover a number of cruises below that DON’T have the lowest prices. Yet, they are unique due to some characteristic of the trip that make them a compelling cruise.

Note: This article contains links to Cruise Critic. We earn commission for clicks made on their website, at no charge to you. Keep in mind that prices may vary from when this article was published.

Cheapest Overall Carnival Cruise for 2023

Carnival Conquest in Miami

  • Date: October 9, 2023
  • Ship: Carnival Conquest
  • Ports: Miami, Nassau
  • Price: $194

If inexpensive is what you’re going for, as we go to press it doesn’t get any cheaper than this. The cruise aboard Carnival Conquest from Miami is only three days, helping keep the price low. An interior cabin on the October 9, 2023 sailing starts at just $194 per person.

The trip itself is as basic as it gets, going from Miami to Nassau and back. Still, if you want to take a cruise and not spend a lot of money, this is one of your best options. It’s also one of your best options if you’re wanting to let loose as the short trip and low cost should lead to a festive atmosphere. Learn more about this cruise here .

Cheapest Overall Carnival Cruise for 2024

  • Date: September 30, 2024
  • Ports: Miami, Half Moon Cay, Nassau
  • Price: $179

When it comes to the least expensive cruise of 2024, you have several itineraries to choose from at $179 per person for an interior room, but they are all aboard the Carnival Conquest sailing from Miami. We chose this trip because it is four days with two port stops, including the Half Moon Cay private destination.

This particular cruise departs in late September, heading to The Bahamas. Other trips at this price point include a three-day cruise to Nassau, and a four-day cruise with stops at Princess Cays and Nassau. Learn more about this cruise here.

Most Interesting Itinerary

  • Date: August 22, 2024
  • Ship: Carnival Panorama
  • Ports: Los Angeles, Ketchikan, Sitka, Icy Strait Point, Kushiro, Aomori, Yokohama
  • Price: $2,069

If you want a cruise that’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience, this trip fits the bill. In fact, it’s essentially two cruises in one. First, you’ll sail from LA to Alaska with three ports of call and sailing the Endicott Arm. We’re big fans of sailing Alaska and consider it a must-see.

But that’s only the first part of the cruise. From there, you’ll head to the Far East, crossing the international date line before three more ports of call in Japan. This includes Kushiro in the northern part of the country and Aomori, followed by Yokohama, just outside of Tokyo.

And in an unusual move for these sort of lengthy trips, the cruise is aboard Carnival Panorama — one of the newer ships in the fleet. Learn more about this cruise here .

Most Expensive Carnival Cruise of 2024

  • Date: April 1, 2024
  • Ship: Carnival Luminosa
  • Ports: Brisbane, Guam, Okinawa, Yokohama, Seward, Juneau, Ketchikan, Seattle
  • Price: $3,449

It makes sense that Carnival’s most expensive trip is also its longest, but on a per day basis it’s actually a decent deal considering the experience. This month-long cruise repositions from Australia to Seattle. It will feature lots of time at sea as you cross the Pacific but also feature stops in amazing places.

From Brisbane you’ll visit Guam, five different ports of call in Japan, crossing the date line, then a cruise through Alaska including stops in Seward, Juneau, and Ketchikan, before finishing up in Seattle.

The price tag is high — nearly $3,500 per person for an interior cabin. But on a per-day basis, that comes out to just a shade over $100. Learn more about this cruise here .

Best Deal on a New Ship

carnival cruises for 2023

  • Date: September 7, 2024
  • Ship: Carnival Jubilee
  • Ports: Galveston, Mahogany Bay, Costa Maya, Cozumel
  • Price: $599

If you want to sail the nicest, newest ships then you normally have to pony up some cash. As a rule of thumb, newer ships have higher price tags to sail. After all, there’s normally strong demand for a new ship.

But with Carnival, there are still opportunities to sail with a great deal. In this case, Carnival Jubilee (which debuts in late 2023) will sail from Galveston on September 7, 2024 on a 7-day cruise. You can get aboard this cruise for just $599 per person for an interior cabin.

The round trip cruise has stops in Mahogany Bay (Carnival’s private port in Roatan), Costa Maya , and Cozumel before returning home. There’s a lot to do on this ship, so being able to sail for a week will give you time to get it all done. Learn more about this cruise here.

Best Deal for an Alaskan Cruise

  • Date: May 7, 2024
  • Ship: Carnival Spirit
  • Ports: Seattle, Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, Victoria
  • Price: $699

When it comes to cruises, trips to Alaska should be a bucket-list item. Given the remoteness and size of this part of the country, a cruise offers the best way to see the most in a relatively short period of time. However, these cruises are usually more expensive than similar length Caribbean trips.

We found this deal, however, that represents the least expensive Alaska cruise of 2024. Starting at $699 per person for an interior cabin, the cruise takes you from Seattle to Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, and Victoria (Canada) before returning home. That’s a line-up of classic ports in this part of the country that shouldn’t be missed. Learn more about this cruise here.

Cheapest 7-Day Cruise of 2023

  • Date: September 23, 2023
  • Ports: Los Angeles, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán, Cabo San Lucas
  • Price: $439

If you’re wanting a deal on a vacation this year, then check out this 7-day cruise from Los Angeles (technically Carnival sails from Long Beach). The cruise aboard Carnival Panorama is for seven nights and takes you to all the hotspots on the Pacific side of Mexico.

You’ll visit Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Cabo San Lucas, and don’t forget days at sea to work on your tan. From LA it’s a classic itinerary that shouldn’t be missed. And while the price isn’t as cheap as the lowest fares of 2024, it’s still a strong deal. Learn more about this cruise here.

Cheapest 7-Day Cruise of 2024

carnival cruises for 2023

  • Date: September 8, 2024
  • Ship: Carnival Magic
  • Ports: Miami, San Juan, Amber Cove, Grand Turk
  • Price: $369

If you want inexpensive but also want to cruise more than three or four nights, this is the least expensive 7-night cruise we found for all of 2024. The cruise aboard Carnival Magic departs Miami, headed to the eastern Caribbean.

From there you’ll have stops in San Juan, Amber Cove (Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic), and Grand Turk , along with some time at sea just to relax and enjoy the sunshine.

At $369 for an interior cabin, that comes out to just about $50 per person, per day to sail on what is a great itinerary. Learn more about this cruise here.

Great Deal From Galveston

  • Date: September 15, 2024
  • Ship: Carnival Dream
  • Ports: Galveston, Costa Maya, Belize, Cozumel
  • Price: $399

September is a great time for cruise deals as kids are back in school, meaning lower demand from families to sail. Meanwhile, the weather is still warm so you can enjoy getting some sun and water even before you reach the Caribbean.

In this case you can do just that on a 6-night cruise from Galveston. The trip aboard Carnival Dream stops in Costa Maya, Belize, and Cozumel. And the deal runs just $399 per person for an interior cabin, or about $65 per day. Learn more about this cruise here.

Great Deal From Port Canaveral

Carnival Vista docked in Roatan

  • Date: October 13, 2024
  • Ship: Carnival Vista
  • Ports: Port Canaveral, Half Moon Cay, Grand Turk, Amber Cove

A great deal on a fall cruise is this trip that departs Port Canaveral in mid-October. Depart from the Orlando area and you’ll have stops at Half Moon Cay (Carnival’s private destination), Grand Turk, and Amber Cove.

And this trip won’t set you back much. An interior cabin starts at just $369 for nearly a week on the ship. Plus, it’s aboard Carnival Vista. This ship isn’t the newest, but was built just a few years ago as the start of the Vista class, Carnival’s second largest style of ship. That means it has all the latest features you’d expect on a Carnival ship. Learn more about this cruise here.

Great Deal From Jacksonville

  • Date: November 2, 2024
  • Ship: Carnival Elation
  • Ports: Jacksonville, Nassau, Princess Cays
  • Price: $209

Finding a cruise that’s under about $75 a night is a decent deal. Under $50 is (nearly) unheard of. This trip comes in at just around $40 per day .

For that price there are some trade-offs. First, it sails from Jacksonville which isn’t as busy a port as Miami or Port Canaveral. As well, it’s on Carnival Elation, which is one of the oldest ships in the fleet.

Even so, the price tag is too tempting to pass up. The cruise will take you south to Nassau and Princess Cays for literally the price of visiting a nice steakhouse for two. Learn more about this cruise here.

To search for more deals on a Carnival cruise, click here .

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A Guide to All 27 Carnival Cruise Ships

With 27 ships and hundreds of itineraries, there’s a Carnival cruise for everyone.

carnival cruises for 2023

Courtesy of Carnival Cruises

Carnival Cruise Line offers numerous cruise options worldwide with a fleet of 27 ships. Their cruises include all the hits: celebrity chef-driven restaurants, onboard rollercoasters, dedicated kids venues, serene spa moments, adults-exclusive pool decks, and exciting destinations. Carnival has it all — and can be relatively affordable. But which ship is right for you?

After sailing on eight Carnival cruises, including voyages on its oldest ship, Carnival Elation , and the newer Carnival Celebration, I’ve learned that sailing on newer ships is generally more expensive, and older vessels are more budget-friendly. However, I often consider more than the total cost before booking a cruise. I look at the ports of call, the space-to-guest ratio, the amenities and onboard activities, and the launch point.

When I select a sailing, I book through Carnival Cruise Line’s reservation number to see if I can snag an exclusive deal not listed online. Carnival's free-to-join loyalty program, the Very Important Fun Person (VIFP) Club, offers deals like reduced deposits, onboard credit, and room upgrades. The more you book with the cruise line, the better your deals will be. 

Before committing to a cruise, I break down the price per person per night, particularly if I need multiple cabins because I'm traveling with a group. I recommend you take advantage of Carnival's convenient 24-hour reservation hold, which displays the total cost, itinerary, and a countdown timer so you know when to purchase to secure the locked-in price.

Here, find guidance on every Carnival cruise ship, from the newest to the oldest.

Related: How to Save Money on a Cruise

Carnival Firenze

Inaugural Year: 2024

Ship Class: Venice Class

Ship Capacity: 4,126 double occupancy; 5,245 total guests

Standout Amenities: Amari bar for a peritivi and digestivi ; Serenity Adult-Only Retreat when you need time away from kids; and Pizzeria Del Capitano for hand-tossed pizza made with imported Italian ingredients  

Originally debuted in 2021 as part of the Costa Cruises fleet (an Italy-based subsidiary of Carnival), the Firenze will set sail as a Carnival ship — with an Italian twist — in Spring 2024. Across Firenze , you’ll see touches of Italy; think cute cafe set-ups that look like they were picked up from a Florence sidewalk. Terrazza staterooms access a private sun deck with whirlpools and a bar. Carnival’s fan-favorite dining options and amenities, like Guy’s Burger Joint and WaterWorks, will be on board.

Carnival Jubilee

Inaugural Year: 2023

Ship Class: Excel Class

Ship Capacity: 5,374 double occupancy; 6,631 total guests

Standout Amenities: BOLT: Ultimate Sea Coaster rollercoaster; relaxing Cloud 9 Spa thermal suites with adjustable humidity and temperature; pickleball courts for challenging family and friends

Carnival Jubilee is the newest Excel-class ship in the fleet, sailing from Galveston, Texas. The massive ship offers Camp Ocean, the onboard kids club. Adults also have their own space at the Serenity Adult-Only Retreat with swaying hammocks and a bar.

Carnival Venezia

Ship Capacity: 3,934 double occupancy; 4,977 total guests

Standout Amenities: The Gondola Lounge, themed after Venice's beautiful canals; a pool area with a retractable roof

Initially built in 2019 for Costa Cruises, this ship joined the Carnival fleet in 2023. Carnival Venezia is ideal if you’re looking for a ship that celebrates one of Italy’s most iconic cities. Venice is the inspiration behind the indoor and outdoor areas, including the atrium, modeled after Piazza San Marco, and the Carnevale Lounge, inspired by Venetian masquerades. Don't miss the Venetian Toast, where the ship’s captain greets guests and crew don Venetian masks.

Carnival Celebration

Inaugural Year: 2022

Standout Amenities: Space Cruisers, a kids camp in partnership with Kennedy Space Center; The Golden Jubilee Bar for vintage cocktails; BOLT: Ultimate Sea Coaster

Carnival Celebration is all about never-ending good times. During my recent sailing, I found all the Carnival classics, like the Alchemy Bar and Guy’s Burger Joint, a thrilling ropes course, dive-in movies, and plenty of themed deck parties. If you’re looking to relax, it has that, too. Rent cabanas or lounge in the ocean-view whirlpools at Loft 19, where attentive staff take care of everything, like delivering you fruit and chilled towels. My favorite spot to hang out was the aft Patio Pool because it wasn't ever super crowded, and the view of the ocean was unmatched. 

Carnival Luminosa

Ship Class: Spirit Class

Ship Capacity: 2,260 double occupancy; 2,826 total guests 

Standout Amenities: Carnival fan-favorite Alchemy Bar; Circle “C” tween club; Cloud 9 Spa hydrotherapy pool for rejuvenating soaks

Carnival Luminosa (formerly the Costa Luminosa ) is for you if you want to sail to destinations like Alaska and Australia. It also offers occasional itineraries through scenic transpacific spots like Fiji, Tahiti, Hawaii, and Japan. The ship has all of the brand’s classic amenities, like the RedFrog Rum Bar and Punchliner Comedy Club, plus an array of dining options, including sushi, pizza, ice cream, and an over-the-top brunch.

Carnival Mardi Gras

Inaugural Year: 2021

Ship Capacity: 5,282 double occupancy; 6,456 total guests

Standout Amenities: BOLT: Ultimate Sea Coaster for adrenaline junkies; Havana Bar for Cuban drinks and live music; Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse and Brewhouse

Carnival Mardi Gras is a nod to Carnival’s first ship, also named Mardi Gras, which was launched in 1972. The vessel has six onboard zones where families can have fun together, including the Ultimate Playground, where BOLT and the SportsSquare are located. Of course, there’s no Mardi Gras without New Orleans, so the French Quarter zone is where you’ll find Big Easy-inspired amenities like an Emeril Lagasse restaurant.

Carnival Radiance

Inaugural Year: 2021 (formerly Carnival Victory , which set sail in 2000)

Ship Class: Sunshine Class

Ship Capacity: 2,984 double occupancy; 3,873 total guests 

Standout Amenities: BlueIguana Tequila Bar for great margaritas; ZSPA for teens who want a spa day; an outdoor gym on the ship's top deck

Carnival Radiance has culinary delights and family fun in spades. If you're a foodie, try Guy’s Burger Joint for loaded burgers straight from Flavortown or Shaq’s Big Chicken for the basketball star's incredible fried chicken sandwiches. Kids will love seeing The Cat in the Hat characters during activities like character parades, story time, and character breakfasts.

Carnival Panorama

Inaugural Year: 2019

Ship Class: Vista Class

Ship Capacity: 4,008 double occupancy; 5,146 total guests

Standout Amenities: Sky Zone trampoline park where families can bounce and play games; Skyride, a suspended bike on the top deck with great ship and ocean views; Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse and Brewhouse featuring Carnival Cruise Line exclusive craft beers

Carnival Panorama is smaller than today's mega-ships, but it packs a ton of fun into its 15 decks. Rooms are spacious; some come with exclusive perks like access to the Havana Pool area or unlimited use of the spa’s thermal suites. Kids will also love that there’s an onboard waterpark, kids club, and a Build-a-Bear Workshop at Sea.

Carnival Sunrise

Ship Capacity: 2,984 double occupancy; 3,973 total guests

Standout Amenities: Cloud 9 Spa cabins with access to the thermal suites; Lucky Bowl restaurant, which is only on Carnival Sunrise and only open for lunch

Carnival Sunrise  (formerly Carnival Triumph ) features an exciting splash zone for kids and a piano bar where adults can sing along to their favorite songs all night. The ship sails on two to five-night and six to nine-night cruises from Miami, Florida, to the Bahamas.

Carnival Horizon

Inaugural Year: 2018

Ship Capacity: 3,960 double occupancy; 4,977 total guests

Standout Amenities: IMAX movie theater for a family night out; Dr. Suess Bookville for family story time and character appearances; volleyball court where adults can test their skills or just hit the ball around

Carnival Horizon has all the makings of a fun family vacation. The kids clubs have dedicated counselors who ensure children are always having fun, and parents can slip away to an adults-only bar for a cocktail or the Serenity Adult-Only Retreat to catch some sun. Then, as night falls, you can come back together for a special meal in the main dining room or JiJi Asian Kitchen, which specializes in regional Asian cuisine.

Carnival Vista

Inaugural Year: 2016

Standout Amenities: The thrilling SkyRide suspended bike for great ship and sea views; Thrill Theater for a 3-D show with water, lighting, wind, and chair movement effects; RedFrog Pub & Brewery, the first brewery at sea in North America

Carnival Vista is perfect for new cruisers. Sailings range from two to nine days out of Port Canaveral, so you can get a taste of what a cruise is like without committing to a more traditional weeklong sailing. Expect an onboard brewery, incredible restaurants, and family-friendly fun.

Carnival Sunshine

Inaugural Year: 2013

Ship Capacity: 3,002 double occupancy; 3,758 total guests

Standout Amenities: Carnival WaterWorks with multiple slides and water features; BlueIguana Tequila Bar for poolside libations; an onboard steakhouse with a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for its exceptional wine list

Carnival Sunshine (formerly Carnival Destiny ) is 10 years old and a fan favorite. The lower guest capacity, at just over 3,000 for double occupancy, means you won’t have to fight hoards of people to get to and from activities. Families who want even more cabin space should book one of the aft-view extended balcony rooms with great wake views and ample private outdoor space.

Carnival Breeze

Inaugural Year: 2012

Ship Class: Dream Class

Ship Capacity: 3,690 double occupancy; 4,724 total guests 

Standout Amenities: Cloud 9 Spa for next-level relaxation; Mongolian Wok lunch restaurant; pickleball courts to get competitive with your family; waterslides

Carnival Breeze is ideal for a short cruise out of Galveston, Texas. The ship has plenty of activities throughout the day, including bingo, trivia, and live performances in the comedy club.

Carnival Magic

Inaugural Year: 2011

Ship Capacity: 3,690 double occupancy; 4,724 total guests

Standout Amenities: Cloud 9 Spa; a thrilling ropes course; Chef’s Table dining experience

Carnival Magic sails for a week or more from Miami, Florida. The ship debuted the restaurant Cucina del Capitano, which is now onboard multiple ships in the fleet. It’s also home to the original Guy’s Pig & Anchor. I sailed the Carnival Magic years ago, but I vividly remember spending an entire day enjoying the amenities at the Cloud 9 Spa and eating at the Mongolian Wok quick-service restaurant almost every afternoon for lunch.

Carnival Dream

Inaugural Year: 2009

Ship Capacity: 3,646 double occupancy; 4,631 total guests

Standout Amenities: Ocean Plaza, a multi-use entertainment venue that’s family-friendly during the day and a nightclub after dark; Guy’s Burger Joint for standout smash burgers; Cloud 9 Spa for adults to relax

Carnival Dream is known for exciting entertainment and food and beverage offerings, including Alchemy Bar, a vintage-themed cocktail "pharmacy." The ship sails from Galveston, Texas, on six to nine-day cruises. I loved playing the onboard mini-golf course.

Carnival Splendor

Inaugural Year: 2008

Ship Class: Splendor Class

Ship Capacity: 3,012 double occupancy; 3,734 total guests

Standout Amenities: Masala Tiger Indian restaurant, which is only open for lunch and only on this ship; a mini-golf course; a pool with a retractable cover

Carnival Splendor sails the Southern Hemisphere around Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific on cruises that range from two to 10 days. The ship has Carnival’s only quick-service Indian restaurant and boasts a pool with a retractable roof, so you can swim without worrying about the weather.

Carnival Freedom

Inaugural Year: 2007

Ship Class: Conquest Class

Ship Capacity: 2,980 double occupancy; 3,754 total guests

Standout Amenities: Space Cruisers kids program in partnership with Kennedy Space Center; RedFrog Pub, with Key West-inspired food and drinks; Dr. Seuss Bookville, a kids library that's themed after the famous author’s characters

Carnival Freedom is ideal for first-time cruisers because of the lower guest capacity and the smaller ship size. But don’t let the numbers fool you; this ship is packed with high-energy activities for all ages; from the kid's clubs to the casino, there’s no lack of fun to be had.

Carnival Liberty

Inaugural Year: 2005

Ship Capacity: 2,974 double occupancy; 3,576 total guests

Standout Amenities: Punchliner Comedy Club for family-friendly laughs during the day and adults-only fun at night; SkyBox Sports Bar to keep up with the big games back home; Mongolian Wok, a prime lunch spot with custom bowls

Looking to relax? Prefer a high-energy vacation? Carnival Liberty can do it all. Head to the main theater for enchanting live performances and shows every night, enjoy tacos and burgers on the pool decks, or find a lounge chair around the pool and soak up the sun.

Carnival Valor

Inaugural Year: 2004

Ship Capacity: 2,980 double occupancy; 3,756 total guests

Standout Amenities: Dive-in movies where you can catch a family-friendly flick under the stars; BlueIguana Tequila Bar for tequila and Mexican beer-based cocktails; Scarlett’s Steakhouse, where perfect steaks and impeccable sides await

Carnival Valor is almost 20 years old and still showing cruisers a good time. The ship's home ports are New Orleans, Louisiana, and Barcelona, Spain, and it offers two to over 10-night sailings. Don’t miss the epic Seaday Brunch, where you'll find all kinds of treats like huevos rancheros, french toast, loaded burgers, and chicken and waffles.

Carnival Miracle

Ship Capacity: 2,124 double occupancy; 2,680 total guests

Standout Amenities: Serenity Adult-Only Retreat where the 21-plus crowd can enjoy a kid-free space; pickleball courts that have great views of the ocean and ports of call

Fantasy worlds and elements inspired Carnival Miracle . Around the ship, you’ll find spaces like Phantom Lounge and Dr. Frankenstein’s Lab, where you can see shows or dance the night away. When you’re ready to soak up the sun, find a lounge chair at the adults-only pool deck or splash down on one of the slides at WaterWorks.

Carnival Glory

Inaugural Year: 2003

Standout Amenities: Camp Ocean kids club for children ages two to 11; AquaTunnel waterslide; 24-hour pizza delivery to anywhere on the ship

Carnival Glory is a vibrant ship inside and out. Think nightly dance parties in White Heat Dance Club, movies under the stars on the pool deck, and tacos from BlueIguana Cantina. The ship sails around the Bahamas, Caribbean, and more on two to 10-day itineraries.

Carnival Legend

Inaugural Year: 2002

Ship Capacity: 2,124 double occupancy; 2,610 total guests 

Standout Amenities: White Hot Night Party; jogging track with panoramic ocean views; Build-A-Bear Workshop at Sea where kids can make a new friend to bring home

Carnival Legend, themed around legends and lore around the world, has two pools and plenty of places to grab a bite, including the Golden Fleece Steakhouse for a stunning multi-course dinner. You're sure to return home with tales.

Carnival Conquest

Standout Amenities: Pickleball courts so you can keep up with weekly family matches; '80s Rock-In-Glow Party for an evening of throwback fun; Guy’s Burger Joint for tasty and quick meals between activities

Carnival Conquest takes cruisers to the Bahamas and the Caribbean on two to 10-day sailings. Special programs allow kids to see their favorite Dr. Seuss characters at sea, and adults can enjoy the enticing Alchemy Bar for one-of-a-kind cocktails.

Carnival Pride

Inaugural Year: 2002 

Standout Amenities: Mid-ship pool with a retractable roof; Heroes Tribute Bar, which recognizes each branch of the American military

For an extended cruise from Tampa, Florida, or Baltimore, Maryland, look to Carnival Pride . The ship has something for every type of traveler, including three kids clubs, adult-only spaces, and over a dozen different dining options.

Carnival Spirit

Inaugural Year: 2001

Ship Capacity: 2,124 double occupancy; 2,610 total guests

Standout Amenities: Domed swimming pool; two-deck fitness center; a pizza window open until 4 a.m.

Carnival Spirit sets sail from home ports around the United States to Alaska, Hawaii, the Caribbean, and the Panama Canal. The ship offers a wide range of entertainment options, including mini-golf, a jogging track, kids clubs, and adult-centric entertainment.

Carnival Paradise

Inaugural Year: 1998

Ship Class: Fantasy Class

Ship Capacity: 2,052 double occupancy; 2,606 total guests

Standout Amenities: Serenity Adult-Only Retreat when you need a place without kids; twin racing waterslides for all ages

With two to nine-day cruises from Tampa to the Caribbean and the Bahamas, Carnival Paradise literally takes cruisers to paradise islands. The ship brims with fun amenities like the WaterWorks splash zone and the relaxing Cloud 9 Spa.

Carnival Elation

Ship Capacity: 2,052 double occupancy; 2,606 total guests 

Standout Amenities: Duke’s Piano Bar for nightly sing-a-longs; Alchemy Bar for custom cocktails; BlueIguana Cantina for breakfast and lunch options with a Mexican twist

Carnival Elation is currently the fleet's oldest ship, debuting in March 1998, and the only cruise ship from any cruise line that sails from Jacksonville, Florida. Even though the ship is small, with a total guest capacity of 2,606, it’s ideal for a quick weekend away if you want a mix of relaxation and high-energy activities. I've sailed the most on Carnival Elation since the ship sails from my hometown of Jacksonville. Even though it's the oldest in the fleet, I love that the sailings are short weekend trips where I can sit outside in the sun enjoying a Guy's Burger Joint smash burger before heading inside to see a show or play bingo. And because the ship is so small, it's easy to navigate, and I always end up making friends with the delightful crew onboard.

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Why should i book a carnival cruise.

If you're looking for an unforgettable vacation, Carnival cruises are a perfect choice. Carnival is one of the best cruise lines in the industry, with a successful history of providing excellent service and luxurious experiences. The Carnival cruise vacations take you to some of the world's most beautiful and fascinating destinations. They’re sure to have features to please everyone in your group.

How to find the best Carnival cruise deals?

There are many different Carnival cruise deals to choose from depending on your destination and the experiences you would most like to enjoy. These deals let you include additional features for a lower price to make your vacation even more comfortable. You can find the best deals by searching for your destinations, and filtering by your desired cruise lines. This way only the companies you wish to travel with will appear. You can also sort your results by price and length of time.

How to choose your cruise with Carnival?

If you want to book aCarnival cruise there are plenty of amazing Carnival cruise deals available. Add your destination, cruise vacation, and number of travelers. Then you can sort your results by price, duration, and departure date. You can also filter by cruise line, cruise ship and cabin type. You’ll find different amenities to suit your vacation needs on each Carnival cruise. For example, youth programs, fitness facilities, and spa facilities.

What do I need to look out for when booking a Carnival cruise?

When booking your 2025 Carnival cruise it’s important to consider a few practical tips. Check what the cost covers, and what you may need to budget for or need insurance for. Think about any amenities or onboard service you’ll require, depending on the length of the Carnival cruise. For example, youth programs, entertainment, fitness facilities, spa facilities, and room service. Secondly, research the weather conditions for your journey and destination. In some locations, summer and winter weather can vary a lot. Another tip is to go over the ship layout to see where you’d like to pick a cabin. Don’t forget to check visa requirements and any flight logistics.

When is the best time to book a Carnival cruise?

You can book a Carnival cruise as early as you like depending on availability. There’s a higher chance of finding cheaper Carnival cruise prices by booking between 6 months to 12 months in advance. But there are also lots of last-minute cruise deals closer to your preferred departure date, but this will depend on your flexibility.

Are last minute deals available with Carnival?

Yes, you can find last-minute Carnival cruises on Expedia. Add your travel dates to the cruise finder and sort your results to find the best price available. Cruise deal discounts are indicated by a green box above the Carnival cruise price.

How do I book a cruise with Carnival?

To book a Carnival cruise on Expedia select your Carnival destination and filter by cruise line. You can also browse our extensive selection of pre-selected cruise deals and find the perfect cruise for you. Once you have found the one you want, choose your dates and the port of departure. You can also refine your search by cabin experiences, or cruise ship. Each ship will have amenities to suit your needs including room service, spa facilities, and fitness facilities.

Is Carnival great value for money?

Carnival cruises are excellent value for money if you're looking for an enjoyable and relaxing cruise vacations. A Carnival cruise offers a high standard of service, a great selection of dining, modern amenities, friendly staff, and exciting activities. The exceptional quality of the experience is worth the price.

Can I cancel a Carnival cruise booking?

Yes, you can cancel your Carnival cruise. We all have unfortunate circumstances where we need to cancel a booking, so Expedia makes it easy to do so. All you have to do is head to your My Trips page on Expedia and click on the cancellation button. Another option is to contact customer service, where you’ll receive help with cancelling. Do make sure that you’re aware of the refund policy that applied to your booking, to see if you’re entitled to a full refund.

Carnival Cruise Guide

Since Carnival entered the cruise scene in 1972, they have founded dozens of new ships dedicated to providing millions of passengers with memorable vacations ashore! Prepare to have the time of your life on Carnival’s innovative cruise ships equipped with high tech entertainment facilities and features, like live stage shows, casinos, spas, waterslides, deck parties and more! Carnival’s "Fun Ships" are floating playgrounds for those looking for an adventurous escape. Allow yourself to relax and experience the sheer bliss of traveling with Carnival. With great onboard amenities, and an extensive choice of activities and dining options you're sure to meet new friends, create lasting memories, and have more fun than you ever thought possible. With sailings to the Caribbean, Mexico, Hawaii, Canada, Alaska, Europe and more, Carnival will make sure you have an enjoyable time every step of the way.

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Heather McManus - Oct 21, 2019

Discover what makes Carnival Cruise Line unique and determine if it’s the right fit for your travel style!

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Heather Mcmanus - Sept 13, 2019

Cruise line branding will give you a lot of clues about what kind of travelers they’re targeting, but if I had to completely stereotype some of the major cruise lines and their typical guests, here’s how I’d do it. Consider this your cheat sheet on the best cruise lines for first time cruisers.

Carnival Ships

  • Carnival Horizon
  • Carnival Panorama
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  • Carnival Radiance
  • Carnival Mardi Gras
  • Carnival Freedom
  • Carnival Liberty
  • Carnival Dream
  • Carnival Breeze
  • Carnival Magic
  • Carnival Sunshine
  • Carnival Imagination
  • Carnival Ecstasy
  • Carnival Victory
  • Carnival Elation
  • Carnival Inspiration
  • Carnival Sensation
  • Carnival Fascination
  • Carnival Fantasy
  • Carnival Paradise
  • Carnival Pride
  • Carnival Conquest
  • Carnival Legend
  • Carnival Glory
  • Carnival Miracle
  • Carnival Valor

More Cruise Lines to Explore

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  • Azamara Club Cruises
  • Celebrity Cruises
  • Costa Cruise Lines
  • Crystal Cruises
  • Cunard Cruises
  • Disney Cruise Line
  • Holland America Line
  • MSC Cruises
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Oceania Cruises
  • Princess Cruises
  • Royal Caribbean
  • Regent Seven Seas Cruises
  • Seabourn Cruise Line
  • Uniworld River Cruises
  • Viking Ocean Cruises
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A Look at the Carnival Celebration’s 2023 Itineraries

  • April 4, 2023

Carnival Celebration

After debuting in November 2022 , the new Carnival Celebration is spending its first full year in service in 2023. Cruise Industry News takes a closer look at the ship’s deployment for the year.

Eastern Caribbean with St. Thomas Date: Several departures between March and December Length: Seven nights Homeport: Miami (United States) Complete Itinerary: Amber Cove (Dominican Republic); San Juan (Puerto Rico); and St. Thomas (U.S. Virgin Islands)

Offered regularly by the Carnival Celebration through 2023, this seven-night cruise to the Eastern Caribbean includes visits to three ports in the region.

After leaving from its Miami homeport, the 2022-built vessel sails to Amber Cove before visiting San Juan and St. Thomas. With several departures between March and December, the cruise also features two full days at sea.

Eastern Caribbean with St. Maarten Dates: Several departures between March and December Length: Seven nights Homeport: Miami (United States) Complete Itinerary: Amber Cove (Dominican Republic); San Juan (Puerto Rico); and Philipsburg (St. Maarten)

The new Celebration is also offering a second week-long itinerary to the Eastern Caribbean throughout 2023.

Following a similar route, the cruise includes visits to Amber Cove and San Juan as well but replaces the visit to St. Thomas with a call to St. Maarten – where the Celebration spends nine hours docked at the port of Philipsburg.

Mexico and Honduras Date: Several departures between March and December Length: Six and seven nights Homeport: Miami (United States) Complete Itinerary: Mahogany Bay (Honduras); Costa Maya and Cozumel (Mexico)

The Carnival Celebration 2023 program includes regular sailings to the Western Caribbean too. Two different week-long itineraries are available between March and December.

At six and seven nights in length, both cruises sail to Mexico’s Costa Maya and Cozumel, as well as Honduras’ Mahogany Bay. The shorter version of the itinerary, however, includes two full days at sea, while the longer cruise features three full days cruising in the Caribbean.

Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao Dates: Five departures between May and September Length: Eight nights Homeport: Miami (United States) Complete Itinerary: Oranjestad (Aruba); Kralendijk (Bonaire); and Willemstad (Curaçao)

Between May and September, the Celebration also sails to the Southern Caribbean with a series of special eight-night cruises to the ABC islands.

After departing from PortMiami, the LNG-powered vessel spends two full days at sea before visiting Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. The Celebration then returns to its South Florida homeport following two additional days at sea.

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If you’re looking for a cruise vacation that’s a little bit out of the way and a little bit out of the ordinary, make an Alaska cruise your first choice. If your first thought is “Alaska… cool!” you’re on the right track — even in the mild summer season, you should still pack your sweater. Grab it and get up here because Alaska is a natural wonder through and through, and the coastal panhandle region Carnival sails to is perhaps the most stunning. How’s Alaska planning on stunning you? Alaska cruises will do it with quaint seaside towns like Ketchikan and Skagway, and with stunning harbor vistas like Juneau’s. Cruising Alaska will also give you a first-row ticket to the best of nature — including fjords, wildlife and mountains galore. “Oh, mother nature… now you’re just showing off.”

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Carnival jubilee, carnival celebration, carnival mardi gras, carnival firenze, carnival venezia, carnival panorama, carnival horizon, carnival vista, carnival breeze, carnival magic, carnival luminosa, carnival dream, carnival splendor, carnival freedom, carnival liberty, review of carnival cruise line.

CCL-Carnival Cruise Lines (carnival.com) is an American passenger shipping company based in Doral, Florida ( Miami suburb). The company was originally private (independent), founded in 1972 by Ted Arison (1924-1999). The initial public offering of 20% common stock in 1987 provided capital for fleet expansion.

Today, CCL is one of the 10 brands owned by Carnival Corporation - currently the world's largest passenger shipping company (followed by RCG-Royal Caribbean Group ). In 2018, Carnival Corporation controlled ~39% of the global ship cruising market (revenue) and ~48% of the passengers (39% in 2020), with full ownership of 9 brands (CCL, AIDA , Costa , Cunard , HAL-Holland America , P&O UK & Australia , Princess , Seabourn ).

CCL currently has 40,000+ employees from 120 nationalities.

For 50 years - between March 11th, 1972 (CCL's maiden voyage with TSS Mardi Gras out of PortMiami) and March 11th, 2022, the company served 90+ million passengers.

CCL has the largest fleet in the Corporation's group of companies and accounts for over 1/5 of the Group's worldwide market share. CCL's executive control is provided by Corporation's North American division. CCL pioneered the concept of less expensive, short-break itineraries. In 1996, the 101,000-GT Carnival Destiny (now Sunshine) became the world's biggest passenger ship and the first to weigh over 100,000 tons.

Most CCL ships are Panama- flagged .

Company changes 2024

(starting January 1st) Available fleetwide are:

  • The enhanced "Chef’s Table 2.0" version (VIP dining hosted by the ship's Executive Chef) features a new menu (with cocktails), hors d’oeuvres, a galley tour, and a multi-course gourmet dinner.
  • "Behind The Fun" (ship tour/behind-the-scenes experience) are now available for pre-cruise/online booking (previously bookable only onboard).
  • HUB App's Streamlined Debarkation simplifies the process with a new feature indicating individual time preferences and the number of bags for tag delivery to the stateroom. The option is available on select ships. VIFP members and Suite passengers receive priority debarkation tags.

In February was introduced CCL's exclusive beer "Lord Nelson’s Smooth Sailing Cruising Ale". CCL's partnership with "The Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel" (1815-built, based in The Rocks, NSW Australia) is since June 2014, when was introduced the "Thirsty Frog Summer Ale".

Carnival Corporation ordered CCL's 4th and 5th EXCEL-class ships to Meyer Werft Papenburg in February (TBN 2027) and March (TBN 2028).

Company changes 2023

In September CCL announced that the libraries on older ships would be removed (during their next scheduled drydocks) while the newer (EXCEL-class) ships lack such facilities by the original design. The former library spaces (used for reading or board game playing) will be repurposed/redesigned as bars, cafes, live music setups, or existing venue-adjacent seating areas.

Since April 1st, CCL again offers the popular "Behind the Scenes" ship tour fleetwide. It costs extra ($55-$95 per person), lasts ~2-3,5 hours and visits the Wheelhouse/Navigation Bridge, the Engine Control Room, Main Dining Room's Galley/kitchen, crew areas (cabins, mess hall, dining room, bar lounge), laundry, among others.

On March 16th CCL became the world's first cruise company to have served 100 million passengers. The unique milestone was celebrated on Carnival Sunrise (in PortMiami) and attended by Christine Duffy (President). CCL's 100-millionth guests were the Clifford family (Debi and David) from Ohio.

On August 28th was announced the name of the new (CCL-exclusive) Grand Bahama Port - Celebration Key , scheduled for opening/inauguration in July 2025.

As of 2023, 9 out of CCL's 14 American homeports (Miami, Port Canaveral, Tampa, Jacksonville, New York City, Baltimore, Mobile, Galveston, Long Beach/Los Angeles) utilize Facial Biometric Technology (public-private partnership with CBP/US Customs and Border Protection Agency), resulting in ~30% reduction in debarkation time. Americans and certain foreign nationals who prefer not to use facial biometrics can request a manual document check from a CBP Officer, adhering to existing admission requirements into the USA.

Company changes 2022

In late-December CCL employed the renowned chef and restauranteur Emeril John Lagasse (1959-born American celebrity chef, restaurateur, author, TV personality) as the company's Chief Culinary Officer. The announcement mentioned that chef Lagasse's "Emeril's Bistro" (restaurant introduced on Mardi Gras) will be utilized fleetwide.

In October CCL imposed fleetwide a US$500 fine plus expenses/detention costs (local police services and emergency docking fees) for passengers found guilty of unruly shipboard behavior.

In September CCL extended its onboard retail shop partnership with Starboard Cruise Services (premier cruiseship retailer, subsidiary company and brand of LVMH /1987-founded) through 2027. The deal covers 10 ships (Celebration, Dream, Freedom, Horizon, Legend, Magic, Miracle, Pride, Sunrise, Sunshine). Starboard is working with CCL since 1992.

On June 22nd, CCL and Costa Cruises announced the "COSTA by CARNIVAL" cruise program targeting CCL's North American source market. The program is based on two newbuild Costa ships - Venezia (starting in April 2023 with homeporting in NYC New York USA ) and Firenze (starting in 2024 with homeporting in Long Beach/Los Angeles California USA ). Both Costa liners are CCL-managed (while operating out of the USA) and were scheduled for drydock refurbishments prior to the Carnival service.

On June 15th was announced that Costa Luminosa will be transferred from Costa to CCL in September and renamed "Carnival Luminosa".

On February 3rd was announced that in 2022 CCL's fleet leave Ecstasy (1991-built/31-year-old) and Sensation (1993-built/29-year-old). The decision triggered the following deployment changes:

  • In Jacksonville, Ecstasy was replaced by Carnival Spirit, starting April 23rd. Ecstasy was repositioned to/homeported in Mobile AL for the period March 5 thru October 10.
  • Carnival Sensation's Mobile Alabama schedule (Oct 15, 2022, thru Sept 30, 2023) was canceled.
  • In Australia, Carnival Splendor's schedule (June 10 thru Sept 26, 2022) and Carnival Spirit's schedule (June 5, 2022, thru October 5, 2023) were canceled.
  • Carnival Sensation will not restart operations. Ecstasy's last voyage for CCL departed on October 10, 2022, from Mobile.

CCL's 50th Anniversary (2022)

In March 2022, for CCL's "50th Anniversary" were scheduled various onboard festivities (on a total of 17x so-called "Sailabrations" cruises) as well as fleet meetups.

  • On March 5th, off Ensenada Mexico rendezvoused 2 ships (Miracle, Radiance).
  • On March 7th, off Cozumel Mexico rendezvoused 7 ships (Breeze, Ecstasy, Glory, Pride, Sunrise, Vista, Mardi Gras).
  • On March 9th, off Eleuthera Bahamas rendezvoused 6 ships (Conquest, Freedom, Legend, Liberty, Spirit, Sunshine).
  • On March 11th, off Ensenada rendezvoused 2 ships (Miracle, Panorama).

On each liner during the meetups was hosted its own Lido Deck party complete with live music and entertainment, including the biggest "Ship-Tok at Sea" (posted on tiktok.com/@carnival). Onboard activities also included themed puzzles, fun-fact trivia games, Build-A-Bear Birthday Party (with a special-edition cuddle bear toy), Rollin' In Riches (gaming event), specially designed fashion collections and retail collectibles, Main Dining Room specials (themed food and beverage menus, original MDR show. Baked Alaska Farewell Parade).

CCL officially marked its 50th Birthday on March 11, 2022, onboard Carnival Conquest's 3-day voyage from Miami to Nassau (March 11-14). The onboard activities were attended by Christine Duffy (CCL's President), Micky Arison (Carnival Corp's Chairman), Arnold Donald (Carnival Corp's CEO), Congresswoman Frederica Smith Wilson (Florida), Congressman Vern Gale Buchanan (Florida), Daniella Levine Cava (Miami-Dade County's Mayor), Juan Carlos Bermudez (Doral City's Mayor), various VIP guests from Miami and CCL's leadership.

Commemorating the 50th birthday, John Heald (CCL's Brand Ambassador) hosted "Between Two Banners" - a series of interviews with the following guests:

  • (March 21) Terry Thornton (former Senior VP Nautical and Port Operations)
  • (March 23) Vicky Rey (VP Guest Care and Communications, Stakeholder Engagement, Deputy Ethics and Compliance Officer)
  • (March 25) Stefan Christoffersson (VP Housekeeping, Laundry and VSP)
  • (March 28) Gerald/Gerry Cahill (CCL's President & CEO between 2007-14)
  • (March 30) Shahnaz Kashanipour (Director Guest Operations)
  • (April 1st, 4th, and 6th) Micky Arison (Corporation's Chairman), 3-part interview

Company changes 2021

On June 23, 2021, CCL announced the addition of two ships to its fleet by 2023 - an EXCEL-class (2023-built Carnival Jubilee ) and Costa Magica (2004-built). The Costa boat (later changed with Luminosa) was to be drydock refitted and refurbished , Carnival-named, and to join CCL in 2022-H1.

In June, CCL signed a limited-time partnership deal with Guy Fieri's Flavortown Kitchen (delivery-only restaurant) for the signature "Straight Up Burger" (US$12). The offer was with app-food ordering (Uber Eats, Grubhub, Bite Squad, Waitr, Postmates, DoorDash) and with free delivery. Guy's Burger Joint (poolside food bar) was introduced in the CCL fleet in 2011 and by 2021 available fleetwide (on 24 liners). On each ship are daily served ~1000 burgers, or ~8 million annually - per boat!

In mid-April, CCL introduced "Carnival Edition Family Feud" (priced at US$25). The cruise-themed version of the board game includes 150 questions related to CCL and cruise travel in general.

On February 16, 2021, CCL officially launched "Carnival Monopoly" available for online purchase for USD 40. The limited-edition board game is cruise-themed (Carnival ship properties, port taxes, Cruise Director announcements).

Company changes 2020

Since January 2020, via partnership with PepsiCo Carnival's North American fleet serves various Pepsi-branded beverages, including sparkling water, energy drinks, iced teas, sodas, juices (also no-sugar and low-calorie variations), Starbucks coffee.

The list of Carnival's PepsiCo beverages includes Bubly (water), Gatorade (sports drink), Naked Juice, MTN Dew (carbonated), Pepsi, Pepsi Zero, Pure Leaf (iced teas), Sierra Mist (lemon-lime flavored), Sierra Mist Zero.

Company changes 2019

In August, CCL signed a deal with The Bahamas to build a new cruise port on Grand Bahama Island. The project (~USD 100 million) will create ~1000 jobs.

In November, CCL partnered with Uplift (travel now and pay over time platform). Instead of paying in full upon booking, Uplift Pay Monthly allows CCL's customers to pay for their cruise over time - by making monthly payments for up to 2 years (24 months). The new option allows securing the ship, stateroom and itinerary with a predetermined payment plan and monthly amounts. The new cruise payment option is available for US and Canadian residents only, for all CCL cruise destinations and through any travel agent, via Carnival.com and the company's call centers. In late-November 2019 was launched shop.carnival.com (online retail store) selling Carnival-logoed merchandise.

In May, CCL partnered with Harlem Globetrotters (exhibition basketball team) to serve as team's official cruise line sponsor, with Carnival-inspired activations taking place at 150+ shows per year. In July 2019, CCL signed a partnership with "Clean the World" - hospitality recycling organization that recycles hotel soap and amenities. CCL fleet's discarded remnants from staterooms are taken to a recycling center ashore where are sanitized, melted down and reprocessed. The newly-formed bars are not reused onboard, but distributed to vulnerable communities worldwide. As of 2019, Clean the World recycles and distributes recycled hygiene products to 127+ countries.

In April, CCL expanded the shipboard youth programming (fleetwide) via exclusive partnership with Zumbini. The company specializes in 45-min high-energy classes and activities (for kids 0-4 years-old) that combine playing, singing and dancing. Zumbini classes (created by Zumba and BabyFirst) feature group sing-alongs, using musical instruments and learning activities. CCL's Zumbini program is free of charge, led by ship's youth staff and with 2 classes (30-min each) held at Camp Ocean and other venues. The program targets Carnival Penguins (2-to-5 years old) and is available on itineraries 6-day or longer.

In March, CCL signed an exclusive partnership with Lakeland Brewing Company (Florida) to can and keg CCL own private label beers crafted by a professional brewery team on the new liners Vista and Horizon (at sea). The 3 new craft beers (ThirstyFrog Caribbean Wheat, ParchedPig West Coast IPA, ParchedPig Toasted Amber Ale) are based on unique recipes and currently available (on tap and in 16-oz cans) fleetwide and also at CCL's private port destinations. In October were added ParchedPig Pumpkin Ale and ParchedPig Beach Lager. In mid-March 2019 started construction works on the exclusive "Carnival Terminal 3"/CT3 in Port Canaveral (opened in June 2021).

In February, CCL added X-ray security 3D scanning at 9 of its North American homeports. For the project (installing a total of 91 units) was contracted "VOTI Detection" (Montreal-based company). The 3D scanners feature advanced imaging and remote diagnosis capabilities. They save the image files which (if needed) can be later re-analyzed.

Company changes 2018

In October 2018, the word "tender" (large boat used for ship-to-shore passenger transportation in ports without berthing facilities) was replaced with "water shuttle". Since Dec 1, 2018, violators of the company's shipboard smoking policy are disembarked at the next call port. Previously, they were fined USD 500 cleaning fee.

With the 3x Vista-class liners (Vista/2016, Horizon/2018, Panorama/2019) were introduced the fleet-firsts "IMAX Theater at Sea" (87-seats cinema/part of "Carnival Multiplex"), "SkyRide" (outdoor/aerial bicycle ride/suspended 2-track bike course), Havana Staterooms (cabin complex with a swimming pool, sundeck, lounge, lanai balconies).

NEW Carnival-XL ship

On November 15, 2018, was the steel-cutting ceremony for CCL's first XL-Class (largest) cruise liner. The 183900 GT-ton newbuild also features a new livery and is LNG-powered .

The shipbuilder is Meyer Werft (Turku Shipyard, Finland). The first vessel ( Carnival Mardi Gras ) is scheduled for delivery in 2021 and homeported in Port Canaveral Florida . The second liner/sistership Carnival Celebration is homeported in Miami starting in November 2022 (the year when CCL celebrated its 50th Anniversary/on March 11th).

The XL-Class design features a new (red-white-navy blue) hull and was created by the NYC -based naval architecture firm "Bluarch Architecture". The new liners have length 1130 ft (344 m) and passenger capacity 5200 (lower berths). Among the various fleet-first and industry-first innovations is The Ultimate Playground (aft on decks 18-19) - a large family-friendly outdoor play area highlighted by fleet's largest WaterWorks (aquapark) and an expanded SportSquare (sports complex with a basketball court, ropes course, jogging track, mini-golf). Also new is the "BOLT Ultimate Sea Coaster" (first at sea). The aft-located (Deck 19) BOLT was designed and built by Maurer Rides ( Munich Germany -based company) specializing in roller coaster manufacturing. The race track has length 244 m (800 ft), with twists, turns, drops and speeds up to 64 kph/40 mph. Individual speeds are posted after the race. Carnival's roller coaster is all-electric and allows 2 riders to race along in motorbike-like vehicles at height 57 m (187 ft) above the sea. The experience features breathtaking top-deck 360-degree seaviews and ends with a high-speed turn around the ship's funnel (smokestack/chimney).

XL-class cruise ship Carnival Waterworks aqua park with waterslides

(NEW) Carnival China cruise brand

In February 2015, Carnival Corporation signed an MoU with China Merchants Group for 2 joint ventures. The MoU outlined an eventual partnership that could result in a new cruise brand (joint shipowner company), as well as joint development plans for Chinese seaports and destinations.

  • MoU's joint venture port plans included the development of transit and turnaround/homeports within China. China Merchants Group (founded 1872) is a state-owned company focusing on infrastructure and transportation, also real estate development and financial services. Currently, Carnival Corporation serves the Chinese market through the brands Princess and Costa.
  • In October 2015, Carnival Corp signed an agreement with the Chinese companies SWS (Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding Co Ltd, a subsidiary of CSSC / China State Shipbuilding Corporation) and China Investment Corp. The USD 3,88 billion deal established the Hong Kong-based joint venture company Adora Cruises/CSSC Carnival Cruise Shipping to place ship orders with SWS. The company plans to build up to 5 new vessels per year for the next 15-20 years. All ships will be China-homeported and with technical support and design plans provided by Fincantieri. SWS builds some of the world's largest container ships (capacity up to 21000 TEUs) for CSCL.

In February 2017, Carnival Corp and CSSC announced an agreement to build 2 new ships for "CSSC Carnival Cruise Shipping Ltd". The deal was officially signed on November 6, 2018.

  • The shipbuilding project had total value ~USD 1,5 billion, not including the options for 4 more liners. Additionally, Carnival China purchased 2 existing liners from Costa Group ( Atlantica and Mediterranea ).
  • The shipbuilder is SWS. Another joint venture - "CSSC Cruise Technology Development Co Ltd" (SWS plus Fincantieri) granted shipbuilding technology licenses and provided technical services to SWS, including supply chain and project management, components and fundamental marine systems. The new liner's design (based on Fincantieri's CCL VISTA platform) was specifically tailored for Chinese tourists.
  • First ship's delivery was scheduled for 2023, a second follows in 2024. Ship design is based on Vista-Class, with GT 85,000 tons and passenger capacity around 2800.

Carnival Cruise Line ships

CCL is best-known for implementing top-notch marine technologies, innovative vessel construction methods and ship designs. Its customers are mostly Americans, 30% of which under 35 yo, 40% - between 35-55, 30% over 55.

All CCL liners names have the prefix "Carnival", and are also trademarked "The Fun Ships". Also trademarked is the ship's funnel - colored in red-white-blue, and shaped like a whale tail. Company's vessels offer spacious public spaces and staterooms that are one of the largest at sea with a huge variety of stateroom types in several categories. Between the high-quality amenities are Carnival's terry robes and "Comfort Bed" sleep system with deluxe mattresses, linens, duvets, and pillows - Suite guests can even choose from a "pillow menu".

Carnival cruise ship top deck (Breeze, Dream, Magic)

Carnival is famous for its great cuisine and multiple dining options. The long list of dining venues includes the Main Dining Rooms (with 5-course meals), Chef's Table (ship tour and gourmet cuisine), Supper Club with steakhouse favorites (reservations-only), BlueIguana Cantina (Mexican), Sushi Bar, European-style Patisseries and Cafes, Poolside Bars, themed Kids Dining, Midnight Buffets, 24-hour Pizza and Room Service.

CCL ships provide a variety of onboard activities - from napkin-folding classes, Vegas-style revues, and gourmet and galley-kitchen tours to cool deck parties, belly-flop pool competitions, and waterslide races. Signature shipboard facilities are Seaside Theatre (outdoors), Thrill Theatre (3D Cinema), Disco Nightclub, Casino (gambling, tournaments), Stage Shows, Playlist Productions, Hasbro Game Show, Carnival Waterworks (aqua park with slides).

For those who love sports, Carnival has done a great job by creating the SportSquare with ropes SkyCourse, SkyRide and Basketball Court, also used also for Soccer and Volleyball. Since October 2016, Carnival Cruise Line ships offer bocce court activities, due to an inflatable court developed by the company Packaworld (New Zealand). The new activity was added following successful test trials (on Carnival Glory and Carnival Pride) run by American Bocce Company (USA).

Bocce (aka bocci) is a nodules sport similar to lawn bowls. However, the traditional courts are usually made of wood and sized 60x12 ft (1830x365 cm, which is a lot of space to install bocce on cruise ships. To overcome the problem, the NZ company Packaworld developed inflatable "Packabocce", making it easier to bring the game to new locations. The portable courts are sized 30x8 ft / 914x244 cm (recreation) and 22x6 ft / 670x180 cm (mini court) and can be set up in just minutes.

The portable bocce courts are also available in some of the ship's indoor public spaces (including bars). The new onboard activity is offered fleetwide, including on the Australia-based ships, where are also available giant board games (like Trivial Pursuit, Guess Who, Cranium).

SkyRide is an outdoor/aerial bicycle ride (suspended 2-track bike course) on the newest Vista-class Carnival ships. This is industry's first pedal-powered open-air bike ride in hanging bikes encircling around an 800-ft / 245-m long suspended track on the ship's top deck, allowing 360-degree panoramic views 150 ft / 46 m above sea level.

Foosball and Ping-Pong tables are available, as well as a Walking/Jogging track and Fitness Center with a separate room for Yoga, Aerobics and Pilates classes. There is also a Mini-Golf course and golf cruise packages created for keen golfers.

Carnival cruise ship mini-golf course

CCL caters for families with amazing kids programs. Kids club activities by "Camp Ocean" (children's facilities and programming) feature "Seuss at Sea" entertainment (including the "Green Eggs and Ham” Breakfast served in the MDRs once per voyage) via an exclusive partnership with Dr Seuss Enterprises LP. At the same time moms and dads are able to unwind in the many relaxation lounges and complexes: Carnival Cloud 9 Spa, Serenity Adult Retreat, themed Bars (RedFrog, BlueIguana, Alchemy, Havana, Sports), big-size Swimming Pools and Whirlpools.

Carnival cruise ship Serenity Retreat (adults-only deck)

Carnival has been spending a lot on fleetwide refurbishments and upgrades since 2007. The initiative "Evolutions of Fun" cost USD 350 million (8x Fantasy-class vessels) and included new open-deck spaces, kids- and family-themed facilities and activities, Carnival WaterWorks (aquapark with slides).

On Oct 6, 2022, was announced a new kids program via partnership with Cape Canaveral's Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. The new programming (Space Cruisers, hosted at Camp Ocean) is NASA-supported and debuted on Carnival Celebration in November. Space Cruisers' activities are grouped into the following programs - "Optimal Orbit" (2-8 yo) and "Design Your Own Mission Patch" and "Space Cruisers Rocket Workshop" (6-11 yo), as well as the family-friendly "Mars Base Connect" and "ASTRO!". Carnival's Space Cruisers program was implemented fleetwide by 2023-Q2.

The "Fun Ship 2.0" program (2011-launched) cost USD 500 million and added fleetwide new dining venues, redesigned staterooms, themed bars, lounges, clubs. The biggest project was the Carnival Destiny-Carnival Sunshine transformation in 2013 (USD 155 million, 49-day drydock refit).

This official YouTube video reviews DREAM-class vessels (Breeze, Dream, Magic) as facilities and amenities.

Next link is to CruiseMapper's Carnival cruise secrets, tips, and tricks . At the following link, you can compare Carnival's major rival - Royal Caribbean (fleet and review of RCI's cruising experience).

ATM (cash) machines are available onboard all Carnival ships since 2009. The service is exclusively provided by Cardtronics and available to both passengers and crew. In 2016, ATMs were also installed in ships' crew sections. Each Carnival ship has all 4 ATMs - 2 located in high-traffic passenger areas and 2 are exclusively for the crew.

Since August 2018, CCL doesn't require passengers to complete health-related questionnaires during check-in. Instead, they are asked to self-report illnesses, without answering questions on paper. At port terminals upon departure were installed health signage to remind practicing hand hygiene and reporting any illness to staff crew.

(NEW) Carnival cruise gratuities (2023)

Since 2023 (April 1st), CCL's daily gratuities per person (pp) are as follows:

  • USD 16 pp (standard staterooms - interior, oceanview, balcony, both adults and kids) - being increased from US$14,50 pp
  • USD 18 (suites) - being increased from US$16,50 pp. Suite perks (in addition to priority embarkation/debarkation in all ports, confirmed main dining room preference) also receive priority tender service, free in-cabin bottled water, 1 complimentary bag of laundry (per cruise), enhanced turndown service.
  • Cruise gratuities for children - tips don't apply to kids less than two years of age.
  • Gratuities can be prepaid. Daily gratuity is an automatic service charge added to the passenger's onboard account each day. The amount of gratuities is split between the onboard staff (dining, housekeeping, cabin stewards).

On Carnival ships departing from Australian ports tipping is not compulsory. Room Service staff tipping is also not compulsory.

On Cruises To Nowhere , the daily amount of gratuities is USD 14 pp.

Carnival Barbados deals (any itinerary visiting Bridgetown Barbados ), all gratuities are prepaid and added upon booking.

For drinks purchases, an automatic 18% gratuity is added to the bill. Charges are applied directly to the onboard account. An automatic 15% gratuity is added to "Chef's Table" (dining package) cover charge and applied directly to the onboard account.

Follows the breakdown of the gratuities on Carnival cruises (in USD, per day, per person):

  • Housekeeping staff: USD 4,05 (standard cabins) USD 5,05 (suites)
  • Dining/wait staff: USD 6,40
  • Alternative Services (kitchen, entertainment, passenger services, other hotel staff members): USD 2,50.

Carnival shipboard Wi-Fi plans

In 2017, CCL updated the cruise ship Wi-Fi service fleetwide, introducing the option to pre-purchase Internet packages online.

Starting April 19, 2017, the company offers pre-purchasing internet plans (first introduced on Carnival Fascination and Carnival Vista). The option is available via "Manage My Booking" (Carnival.com) where customers can select a package for the duration of the cruise.

Carnival's Wi-Fi plans can be purchased (at discounted rates) for either the entire voyage or for a day (24-hour period).

  • "Social Package" (costs USD 12,75 per day) offers access most popular applications and websites, including Facebook (and Facebook Messenger), Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin, WhatsApp, plus the most popular airline websites. The Social plan doesn't include Snapchat, Facetime, iMessage, in-app calling or access to any other apps or websites.
  • "Value Package" (costs USD 17 per day) offers access to all websites and apps, including e-mail, news, banking, sports, weather, all social media. The Value plan doesn't support music and video streaming or Skype calls.
  • "Premium Package" (costs USD 18,70 per day) offers the fastest possible Internet connection. Depending on coverage, speeds can be up to 3 times faster compared to the "Value Package". The Premium plan includes all apps and websites, plus streaming services and Skype video calling.

Since May 2017, CCL offers a new, convenient option for fully booked passengers to select and pre-purchase Wi-Fi packages through carnival.com ("My Cruise Manager" tab). However, when purchasing W-Fi online, passengers must also pre-purchase an Internet package covering the whole voyage.

Daily Internet packages are available onboard.

  • WiFi package costs USD 12 per day, with discount price $10,25 if pre-purchased (prior deprture), 24-hour / daily rate $16.
  • Premium WiFi package costs USD 17,70 per day ($14,88 if pre-purchased), , 24-hour / daily rate $25.

Booked Carnival cruise ship passengers can upgrade from one plan to another and are also allowed to use multiple devices per plan (including the ship's onboard computers), but only on one device at a time. All the new Carnival WiFi plans do not include video streaming (Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime) and don't support WiFi Calling (voice calls via the ship's Wi-Fi network) and Facetime (Apple's videotelephony) services. Printing services on the ship are provided at no charge.

Carnival "Future Cruise" booking

In May 2017, Carnival Cruise Line started offering new incentives to customers on current voyages if they book next cruise while on the ship.

  • Cruisers are able to book a future Carnival cruise either while on the ship or within 2 weeks after the current cruise. Booking ashore can be done through travel agent or the Carnival HUB app. Onboard booking is through Loyalty and Cruise Rep. Before May 2017, passengers could only book a future cruise through onboard reps.
  • At the time of booking, passengers are entitled to the following perks: reduced deposit, 2-category cabin upgrade, 20% off "Early Saver" rates with price protection.
  • Passengers who opt to change the cruise date lose their onboard credit. That credit is forfeited in case the price drops and customers opt to rebook. Before May 2017, the amount of onboard credit offered was varying depending on itinerary's length, Now it is a flat rate of USD 25 per person (up to USD 50 per cabin) excepting suite staterooms, which receive USD 50 per person in onboard credit (up to USD 100 per cabin).
  • Travel agents are able to book their customers into a group booking with the offer.
  • Carnival's "Friends and Family" vouchers are not offered anymore. They used to allow passengers who may like to sail with you to get the same discount deal.

Carnival is the only cruise company allowing its customers to take advantage of a "Future Cruise Vacation" promo up to 2 weeks after the end of the voyage (debarkation).

In late-December 2018 was signed a contract with Speedcast (world's largest global satellite comm provider) to improve fleet's connectivity at sea. By this contract, Carnival increased fleet's bandwidth in order to provide highest-quality Internet at sea. Utilizing a total of 40 mini-satellites, Carnival now has the world's largest maritime satellite network. Specifically for Carnival, Speedcast developed the TrueBeam system, which constantly looks for weaknesses which would impact the satellite signal and instantly reroutes it to avoid interruptions. Such interruptions could be weather ("rain fade"), overcrowded networks and line-of-sight blockage.

Carnival fly-cruise deals Fly2Fun

Since 2015, Carnival offers a "flight and cruise" program (branded Fly2Fun) providing the company's potential customers with choice, convenience, and value when making flight arrangements in connection with the cruise.

Fly2Fun deals allow customizing flight reservations with different options, including the specifying preferred departure ports, flight schedules, airline/carrier, type of accommodation. Confirmations are received after making the reservation. Flights can be customized to allow pre- or post-cruise hotel stays.

  • The Fly2Fun program is operated with Carnival's "Flight Protection". It guarantees that in case of missing the cruise departure (due to aircraft mechanical or weather-related issues) Carnival will fully cover the airfare, plus all the expenses related to transportation, meals, and hotels for the booked passengers to meet the ship in the next call port of the cruise itinerary.
  • Within Carnival's flight cruise program there are 2 options available - "Restricted Air" and "Flexible Air".
  • With Flexible Air, potential Carnival customers (or travel agents) can book cruise up to 4 days prior to departure with the "Book Now-Pay Later" feature. With this option, flights payment is collected together with the cruise's final payment. There are no fees if air changes are made outside of 60 days prior to departure.
  • With "Restricted Air", flight tickets are non-refundable and due paid in full upon booking. Change fees are based on the airline's policy, once air tickets are issued.

Fly2Fun (Carnival fly-cruise deals) are bookable only via phone. After the cruise reservation is made, customers can call "1-800-CARNIVAL" to make a flight reservation.

In November 2018, Carnival partnered with American Airlines for a new exclusive fly-cruise offer.

  • Members of the airline's loyalty program (AAdvantage) can earn up to 10,000 miles on voyages. AAdvantage cardholders can earn up to 20,000 miles.
  • The deal includes Citi AAdvantage Platinum Card and Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard.
  • AAdvantage members earn 1 mile per dollar spent on Carnival cruises. AAdvantage cardholders earn 2 miles per dollar spent.
  • Miles are awarded per stateroom, but only 1 passenger per booking can earn rewards. AAdvantage cardholders must book the cruise through "American Airlines Cruises" using their card to get an additional mile per dollar spent.
  • The exclusive deal was offered on Carnival voyages November 1, 2018, through August 31, 2021.

In late-February 2020, was introduced a new Fly2Fun option - upon online booking customers now can secure the flight arrangements (Flexible Air or Restricted Air) right after completing the voyage booking. The upgraded Fly2Fun allows booked customers to select flight dates and preferred airline and receive (online) immediate confirmation.

Carnival's "Great Vacation Guarantee"

Since 2013, Carnival is the company providing industry's biggest and strongest vacation guarantee ever - "Great Vacation Guarantee". Starting with the Victory ship cruise from Miami (September 12, 2013), this new brand-building initiative allows CCL passengers to end their cruise vacation early if they aren't happy with the experience - and to receive a 110% refund in OBC. And this is not all!

  • Unhappy customers also get a free air transportation home.
  • Plus free ground transportation from the next call port.
  • Plus free hotel stays (if necessary).
  • Plus USD 100 onboard credit for a future Carnival cruise booking.
  • Booking shore excursions through Carnival is the best deal in terms of money, quality of service and guaranteed ship departure/arrival times.

The only requirement is passengers must claim their unhappiness on the ship and within the first 24 hours after boarding.

Carnival HUB app

HUB app is a free download mobile app allowing onboard chatting between Carnival passengers. The app also provides access to ship-related information. A fee of USD 5 per device per cruise is required to activate the chat feature. The other functions are at no cost.

The HUB app was last updated in June 2017 and now offers the хew features weather forecast (for each day of the itinerary), dining menus, tips info (dress code, shipboard events schedules, deck plans, ports info). App's design was also updated.

Hub app also allows checking the Sail & Sign onboard account, viewing maps, scheduled events, dining and drinking options, add favorites. On select ships via Hub app can also be purchased tours/shore excursions. The app is available for Apple and Android mobile devices.

Carnival EasyPay

"Carnival EasyPay" was introduced in June 2017. This is Carnival Cruise Line's pay-over-time program allowing customers to book a cruise and pay for it in 3 monthly installments.

  • The program (cruise ship industry's first) is designed as a hassle-free cruise payment option. It allows booked passengers' to deduct cruise payments automatically (from the credit card on file). Then the payments are applied to the current balance over a 3-month period - interest-free.
  • The customer makes the initial deposit, then the balance of the cruise is charged in 3 equal payments - taken out automatically (on the designated day) for 3 consecutive months.
  • Booked cruise passengers can either register for "Carnival EasyPay" (at carnival.com) or call.
  • Travel agents can sign up in order to process payments on behalf of their clients.

Since 2017, Carnival Cruise Line accept PayPal as digital payment method available from any device. Via PayPal, customers can securely choose their payment methods for purchases - credit card, debit card, bank account or PayPal balance.

PayPal can be used by cruise ship tourists upon making their initial deposits on the voyage or any balance due. In addition to PayPal, Carnival also accepts all major credit cards, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, Diner's Club, MasterPass.

PayPal allows CCL customers to make online purchases more quickly and securely. PayPal can be used as a payment option for any of Carnival cruise itineraries with durations 3- to 15-days, visiting ports both USA and international ports and destinations.

(NEW) Carnival cruise passengers debarkation policy

In August 2018 the company changed its passengers' debarkation policy.

  • Only customers who exceeded duty-free allowance must complete one US Customs Declaration Form per household, including family members traveling with them and residing at the same address.
  • On the day prior debarkation, new Zone-numbered luggage tags are offered in a shipboard designated area (listed in Carnival's Debarkation Flyer). This doesn't apply to passengers who choose self-assist debarkation.
  • Passengers may pick up luggage tags with desired debarkation time (subject to availability). Each tag has to be filled out and attached to luggage. It's recommended not to disembark until your zone has been called as your luggage will not be available for pick-up.
  • Passengers who use the new luggage tag system must leave luggage outside the stateroom (in the hallway) the night before debarkation (collection between 10 pm and midnight).
  • To avoid confusion, luggage tags used during boarding must be removed, leaving just the zone-numbered tags.
  • Passengers with confiscated stuff can reclaim them starting at 6:30 am (debarkation morning) in the designated area.
  • Upon debarkation, each passenger must present Sign & Sail card for scanning by ship's security (to know when the entire cruise liner has been cleared of travelers).

Carnival ship lifeguards

In April 2017, at the Clia Cruise 360 conference in Fort Lauderdale Florida , Carnival Cruise Line's president Christine Duffy reaffirmed that the company wouldn't add onboard lifeguards to the Fun Ships soon. Mrs. Duffy stated that "the responsibility for pool safety must be with the parents onboard and our employees".

On each of the Carnival ships, there are three full-time attendants (at the waterworks facility/ aqua park with slides), which are swimming pool safety, CPR and first aid trained. Still, the safest system remains "vigilance and awareness".

  • For comparison, NCL Norwegian Cruise Line started employing certified lifeguards (on its largest vessels only) in summer 2017. NCL's lifeguards were employed fleetwide by 2018. The announcement made NCL the 3rd major cruise company with lifeguards onboard its ships - following Disney and Royal Caribbean . The onboard NCL lifeguards are stationed only at the family pools during scheduled swimming pool hours. This staff is "American Red Cross" trained and certified. NCL also offers complimentary swim vests for both adults and kids. Parents can obtain safety vests at the Lido Deck's towel station during daytime hours.
  • NCL started testing monitoring through CCTV cameras at family pools (on fleet's largest ships only) since 2015. So adding full-time lifeguards was a decision for more safety on pool decks. However, it should be known that lifeguards don't replace parental supervision and that parents (legal guardians) remain the best form for preventing onboard accidents.
  • RCI Royal Caribbean employs cruise ship lifeguards since February 2017 (by the line's "water safety program"). RCI's onboard lifeguards are dressed in special uniforms (bright red and white) and stationed at every onboard swimming pool, including at the Solarium (adults-only retreat) during the complex' opening hours.
  • Disney Cruise Line employs certified lifeguards since 2013.

In mid-October 2019, Carnival issued the following safety briefing video that outlines all the fleet's main shipboard safety regulations .

"Fun Ship Freddy" is Carnival's mascot in the shape of the company's distinctive funnel.

Former Carnival liners

All vessel names have the prefix "Carnival", and are also referred to as "Carnival Fun Ships". The first Carnival liner (second-hand vessel) was "MS Mardi Gras".

Carnival Mardi Gras cruise ship

Next, are listed Carnival ships no longer part of the company's fleet. In brackets are shown the years the vessels served CCL.

  • MS MARDI GRAS (1972-1993), the first-ever Carnival cruise ship/1961-built ocean liner ("Empress of Canada"), scrapped 2003, weight 27300 GT, passengers 1240, former names Olympic, Star of Texas, Lucky Star, Apollo, Apollon.
  • MS CARNIVALE (1975-1994), an ocean liner built in 1956 as "Empress of Britain", scrapped in 2008, weight 25500 GT, passengers 1124, former names Queen Anna Maria, Fiesta Marina, The Topaz.
  • MS FESTIVALE (1977-1996), an ocean liner built in 1961 as "RMS Transvaal Castle", scrapped 2003, weight 32700 GT, passengers 726, former names SA Vaal, Island Breeze, Big Red Boat III.
  • MS TROPICALE (1982-2001), built 1982, tonnage 36700 GT, the first newbuild Carnival liner, named after the CCL service as Costa Tropicale, Pacific Star, Ocean Dream (2008-2020/scrapped).
  • MS JUBILEE (1986-2004), 47300 GT, passengers 1490-1900 (max), sold to P&O Australia in 2004, renamed Pacific Sun, sold in 2012 to a Chinese company (serves as the gambling ship MS Henna (scrapped in 2017).
  • MS CELEBRATION (1987-2008), now Grand Celebration , Sweden-built, weight 47300 GT, passengers 1490 (max 1900), transferred to iberoCruceros, currently operated by Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line .
  • MS HOLIDAY (1985-2009, scrapped in 2021 as CMV Magellan ), Denmark-built, weight 46000 GT, passengers 1450 (max 1800), transferred to iberoCruceros, later chartered by CMV (Cruise and Maritime Voyages) .

On May 10, 2018, in Miami was officially opened Carnival's "Fleet Operations Center". The 35,000 ft2 facility allows simultaneous real-time monitoring of all ships in the fleet. The main feature is its 74 ft (22,5 m) long video wall composed of 57x LED screens. The data processed here includes itinerary information, current position, weather conditions, logistics, environmental status, guest operations. The interactive world map shows also current locations of all Carnival Corporation ships (all brands). The center is staffed 24 / 7. The Corporation also owns similar monitoring centers in Seattle and Hamburg .

(Coronavirus crisis) passenger shipping pause 2020-2021

Due to the COVID pandemic, CCL-Carnival suspended its fleet's passenger shipping operations by canceling all voyages with pre-scheduled departures in the period March 13, 2020, through July 2021.

Next are listed CCL-Carnival's first departure dates by ship/homeport - BREEZE (July 15, 2021/Galveston Texas), CELEBRATION (Nov 6, 2022/ Maiden Voyage /Transatlantic Southampton-Miami), CONQUEST (Dec 13, 2021/Miami), DREAM (Sept 19, 2021/Galveston TX), ECSTASY (March 7, 2022/Jacksonville FL), ELATION (Oct 11, 2021/Port Canaveral), FREEDOM (Oct 9, 2021/Miami), GLORY (Sept 19, 2021/NOLA New Orleans), HORIZON (July 4, 2021/Miami), LEGEND (Nov 14, 2021/Baltimore to Bermuda), LIBERTY (January 3, 2022/Port Canaveral), MAGIC (Aug 7, 2021/Port Canaveral), MARDI GRAS (July 31, 2021/Port Canaveral/ Maiden Voyage ), MIRACLE (July 27, 2021/Alaska from Seattle), PANORAMA (Aug 21, 2021/Long Beach LA), PARADISE (March 12, 2022/Tampa), PRIDE (Sept 12, 2021/Baltimore to Bahamas), RADIANCE (Dec 13, 2021/Long Beach LA), SPIRIT (March 7, 2022/Jacksonville FL/Brisbane Australia 2022-24 schedule was canceled), SPLENDOR (May 2, 2022/Alaska from Seattle/Sydney Australia 2022-24 schedule was canceled), SUNRISE (Aug 14, 2021/Miami), SUNSHINE (January 13, 2022/Charleston SC), VALOR (Nov 1, 2021/NOLA New Orleans), VISTA (July 3, 2021/Galveston Texas), JUBILEE (October 30, 2023/ Maiden Voyage /Transatlantic from Southampton to Galveston).

  • The 2020-built Mardi Gras ship's inaugural sailing (Caribbean from Port Canaveral) was rescheduled from April 24 to May 29, June 5, July 3, Oct 2.
  • Carnival Radiance (fka Carnival Victory) restarted from Long Beach (3-4-night Catalina Island and Ensenada) on December 23 (rescheduled from Nov 5th due to revised drydock plans).
  • Carnival Legend's Europe 2021 program (May 17 - October 31/Mediterranean from Barcelona) was canceled and the ship restarted on Nov 14, out of Baltimore to Bermuda.
  • Carnival Australia ships were planned to restart in 2022 on April 16 (SPLENDOR from Sydney NSW) and April 17 (SPIRIT from Brisbane QLD), but in February 2022, both programs were canceled and the ships redeployed.
  • CCL's newest boat (Carnival Celebration's Maiden Voyage) was scheduled for Nov 6, 2022 (Transatlantic from Southampton to Miami).

All affected bookings received full monetary refunds (100%), including on prepurchased through CCL packages and services. With rebooking (made by May 31, 2021), refunds were in FCC (future cruise credit) transferred to the new booking. Cruises 5-day or shorter received a full monetary refund or a 100% refund in FCC plus USD 300 in OBC (onboard credit) per stateroom. Cruises 6-day and longer received a full monetary refund or a 100% FCC plus USD 600 in OBC per stateroom. Booking cancelations prior to the final payment were penalty-free - unless the booking was on a specific promo offer with a non-refundable deposit and/or cruise fare.

IMPORTANT : In mid-June 2020, Carnival Corporation (CCL's parent company) announced that intends to sell 13 ships in FY2020 - instead of the previously expected fleet optimization planned over the next 3-5 years.

  • The list of sold for scrapping liners includes Carnival Inspiration (1996-built, age 24) and Carnival Fantasy (1990 / 30-yo). On July 23, CCL announced that Fantasy and Inspiration are sold but not to be scrapped. The same statement mentioned that the ships Fascination and Imagination move to a cold lay-up (long term no-sail) status.
  • Carnival Fascination's schedule 2020-2021 based on homeporting in San Juan (Puerto Rico) and Bridgetown (Barbados) was canceled. The ship's new homeport (Mobile AL) and itineraries in 2022 were also canceled. On September 16 was announced that Carnival Fascination is sold (to an undisclosed buyer, hopefully not for scrap).

Itinerary of Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Luminosa (former Costa ship) started an inaugural season in Australia in November 2022, based on homeporting in Brisbane Queensland .

In 2023 starts the "COSTA by CARNIVAL" cruise program (CCL and Costa Cruises) that targets CCL's North American customers. The program is based on two newbuild Costa ships - Venezia (starting in June 2023 with homeporting in NYC New York USA ) followed by Firenze (starting in May 2024 with homeporting in Long Beach/Los Angeles California USA ). Both Costa liners are CCL-managed (while operating out of the USA).

Former CCL vessels (scrapped in 2020-2022)

Carnival Fantasy (1990-built/30-year-old) and Carnival Inspiration (1996-built/24-year-old) were sold for scrap in July 2020/ Carnival Imagination (1995-built/25-year-old) was sold in August/ and later dismantled at Aliaga Turkey .

Carnival Fascination (1994-built/28-year-old) was sold in August 2020 and scrapped in February 2022 at Gadani Pakistan .

In 2022, the CCL fleet left Carnival Ecstasy (1991-built/31-year-old) and Carnival Sensation (1993-built/29-year-old).

Itinerary changes

CCL-Carnival established cruise ship operations in China via a partnership with its local subsidiary company Costa Asia (in China since 2008).

Representing 90% of CCL's American capacity, by February 2022, the fleet's USA-based homeporting operations covered the following ports and ships

  • Galveston TX : Breeze, Dream, Vista
  • Miami FL : Conquest, Freedom, Horizon, Sunrise
  • Port Canaveral FL : Mardi Gras, Elation, Magic, Liberty
  • New Orleans (Port NOLA) : Glory, Valor
  • Long Beach (Los Angeles CA) :Miracle, Panorama, Radiance
  • Baltimore MD : Legend
  • Tampa FL :Pride
  • Charleston SC : Sunshine

In summer 2025-2026 (starting May 2025) CCL homeports in LA/Long Beach three ships (Firenze, Panorama, Radiance) for 4- to 8-day roundtrip itineraries visiting destinations along the Mexican Riviera (Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan) and Baja California (Ensenada, La Paz).

Follows a review of CCL-Carnival Cruise Lines' itinerary program for 2023-2024 scheduled itineraries. For sailing dates (departures, arrivals), call ports times and cruise prices (per person) follow the ship pages listed below.

Carnival AirShip

The 128-ft (39-m) long Carnival AirShip is a painted like cruise ship dirigible. The blimp floated around Galveston and Houston (September 7-8-9, 2018) as part of a 30-day air voyage across the Southern USA. The voyage started in Nashville TN (Aug 25) and ended in Atlanta GA (Sept 26-30), visiting along the route Memphis TN (Aug 29), Dallas (Sept 1-3), Austin (Sept 4), San Antonio (Sept 5), Houston (Sept 7-9), Galveston (Sept 9), New Orleans (Sept 10), Mobile AL (Sept 13), Tampa (Sept 15), Miami (Sept 16-20), Orlando (Sept 21), Canaveral (Sept 22) and Jacksonville (Sept 23).

Carnival AirShip is part of the company's marketing campaign about homeport changes (new ship deployments) - Carnival Vista (Galveston, since September 23), Carnival Horizon , ( Miami , since September 22), Carnival Breeze ( Port Canaveral , since September 30), and Carnival Magic (Miami, since September 30).

Carnival cruises to Cuba

Carnival expanded its cruises to Cuba with an additional 23 three- to five-day itineraries to Havana in 2020 planned for 5 different liners departing from 4 US East Coast homeports - Carnival Triumph (from Fort Lauderdale ), Carnival Sunshine (from Charleston SC ), Carnival Sensation (from Miami ). Carnival Sunshine was the biggest passenger ship to ever visit Havana and the liner with the first-ever Cuba cruise from Charleston SC. The new Cuba cruises include:

  • Carnival Sunshine : 8 five-day voyages featuring Freeport and Havana departing January 6, February 3 and 17, March 2, 16 and 30, April 13 and 27, 2020.
  • Carnival Triumph-Sunrise : 8 five-day itineraries featuring an overnight in Havana and a day-long visit to Nassau departing January 11, February 8 and 22, March 7 and 21, April 4 and 18, 2020; as well as a 5-day cruise featuring an overnight in Havana and a visit to Half Moon Cay departing January 20, 2020.
  • Carnival Sensation : 4-day voyage featuring an overnight in Havana and an extended visit to Nassau departing on March 19, 2020, as well as a couple of 5-day trips with an overnight in Havana and visits to Nassau and Freeport departing February 15 and 29, 2020.

Note: According to the current Cuban law, US citizens of Cuban origin (born in Cuba) are not allowed to visit the island country (including on cruise ships). Regardless of their US citizenship status, Cuba-born Americans were denied booking on cruise itineraries visiting ports in Cuba. However, the situation changed in April 2016, after Carnival Corporation negotiated with the Cuban government to allow ships with Cuban-born passengers, as such US citizens are allowed to visit the country on USA-Cuba charter flights. The Carnival-fathom cruise line started Miami to Cuba cruises in May 2016 with the P&O UK ship Adonia (now Azamara Pursuit) . The brand was terminated in April 2017.

Alaska Airlines offers regular nonstop flights to Havana from Los Angeles (California USA). An 80-min ling JetBlue flight from Fort Lauderdale (Florida) to Havana costs less than USD 100. Previously, air travel from the USA to Cuba was thought charter flights only.

Carnival Journeys cruise itineraries

Since 2015, Carnival Cruise Line offers the so-called "Carnival Journeys" itineraries. These are longer than usual voyages with length ranging between 9 and 15 nights. Some are one-way (relocation cruises).

"Carnival Journeys" offer a more in-depth port of call experiences than the shorter itineraries of 7-8 nights. Among the highlights are live entertainment and exotic culinary experiences that reflect the local cuisine and cultural traditions.

The onboard "journey" experiences feature local cuisine specialties (served in the Main Dining Room), cooking demonstration, Academy of Fun (expert lectures), traditional dance performances, themed deck parties, crew connections (opportunities to connect with the ship's staff and crew). The new program "Carnival Journeys" features destinations like Hawaii, Caribbean, Mexico, Panama Canal, Europe.

Among the wide variety of offers are over cruises of up to 5 days, providing passengers with many "mini-cruise" options, including new 4- and 5-day deployments for Carnival Valor ( from Port Canaveral ) and Carnival Victory-Radiance (from Miami ). Longer Carnival Journeys visit exotic ports. Bermuda cruises depart from 7 East Coast USA homeports. The unique Panama Canal cruises on Carnival Pride leave from Tampa .

New Carnival Caribbean cruise shore excursions

Since July 2015, Carnival Cruise Line offers new shore excursions, new customized private tours and new family-friendly enhancements with complimentary beachside activities and complimentary land tours in select Caribbean ports of call. The min age requirement is 5 yo.

The new tour deals pertain to over 50 call ports in Mexico, Hawaii, Bahamas, Caribbean, Canada New England, South America.

  • Cozumel (La Casa en la Playa) 5-hour tour offers luxury limited to 30 participants who have access to a beach house for the day with 5-star service provided by the wait staff and personal chef. They also can learn Mexican cooking, making Margaritas and mojitos.
  • Cozumel ("Photo Safari and Beach Expedition') is a 2-days tour starting with a 1-hour photo seminar on the cruise ship. On the next day, the tour continues with visiting a national park and beaches.
  • Ocho Rios ("Eat, Drink and Dance') is a food-themed tour about Jamaica's culture, music, and food. After food tasting at jerk hut, passengers enjoy dining at Miss T's Kitchen. Follows a visit to a beach bar (where mixologists create rum cocktails), then ends with reggae dance lessons.
  • Ocho Rios ("Jamaican Home for the Day') is a day-long tour on which cruise passengers enjoy their own Jamaican home, with included home-cooked lunch.
  • Charlotte Amalie / St Thomas Island USVI ("Eat, Drink and Walk") is a walking tour starting with a bus-drive to StPeter Mountain Great House and Botanical Gardens. Passengers can try 24 different local rums and learn how to make banana daiquiri and local food.

CCL also offers new "family-friendly" cruise shore excursions in the Bahamas, Mexico, and the Caribbean. On these tours, kids aged 5 and under receive complimentary beach excursions if their parents book the excursion.

  • Freeport Bahamas ("Family Beach Escape') tour starts with a bus ride to a beach resort, where kids enjoy treasure hunts, face-painting, sandcastle-making competitions, and other supervised outdoor activities. Lunch is included.
  • Cozumel ("Island Beach Escape for Families by Power Catamaran') tour starts with a power catamaran ride to Passion Island and its white-sand beaches and resort facilities. Adults enjoy water trampolines, pedal boats, beach volleyball, while kids play is a dedicated beachside playground. A Mexican-style buffet is included.
  • Nassau Bahamas ("Family Treasure Hunt with Lunch at Blue Lagoon') - discover hidden treasures, answer trivia questions, win Pirate's Bounty. Grilled lunch at Blue Lagoon Island is included.
  • Montego Bay Jamaica ("All Inclusive Family Beach Resort Getaway') tour is at Seawinds Beach Club and includes live entertainment and complimentary buffet lunch.

Carnival offers private tours via motor coaches, yachts, and helicopters. These excursions are all guided by experienced locals. Carnival ships have a new tour dispatch system, from where tours depart as local operators board the ship to meet the participants.

All new cruisetour offers complement CCL's "Shore Excursion Best Price Guarantee" providing a 110% refund in OBC/onboard credit if passengers find a better price on similar land tour deals. Each Fun Ship also has a dedicated "shore excursion desk" with experienced staff to answer any questions and to recommend particular tours. The company's tour section was revamped with enhanced navigation, more videos, and photos, online reservations, guest-written tour reviews.

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Carnival Venezia 2023 Voyages Released, Includes a Sailing with 9 Sea Days

Picture of Doug Parker

Doug Parker

  • November 14, 2022

Carnival Cruise Line has detailed 2023 itineraries for its newly acquired ship Carnival Venezia , which will be sailing year-round from New York City starting next June.

When Venezia enters New York Harbor for the first time next summer, it’ll be sporting new livery and the words “Carnival Fun Italian Style” across the side. It’ll also feature a number of signature Carnival venues including the WaterWorks aqua park, Bonsai Sushi, Piano Bar 88, Seafood Shack, Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse, Cloud 9 Spa, and the adults-only Serenity Retreat sundeck.

Carnival Venezia ship

Where will Carnival Venezia Sail?

Following a two-week transatlantic voyage from Barcelona to New York City next May, the ship will sail a variety of itineraries to Bermuda, the eastern and southern Caribbean, and the Bahamas.

Carnival Venezia will kick off service with a 15-night transatlantic cruise that will depart Barcelona on May 29, 2023 bound for New York City with stops in Málaga, Gibraltar, Lisbon, Ponta Delgada, and Halifax, Nova Scotia. That transatlantic sailing will have a total of nine sea days.

Starting June 15th, the Costa Venezia will sail its first North American voyage from Manhattan to Bermuda. The itinerary will be a four-night voyage with a single stop to the island.

Eastern Caribbean sailings will have four sea days, a stop in Amber Cove, Grand Turk, and private island Half Moon Cay.

Southern Caribbean voyages will go deep south into Aruba and Curaçao.

From Costa to Carnival Venezia

Carnival Venezia dining room

This past summer, Carnival Corporation announced that Costa Venezia will sail under the flag of Carnival Cruise Line starting in spring 2023. The ship, currently sailing as Costa Venezia , was originally built for the Chinese market and entered service from Shanghai in 2019 sailing East Asia itineraries.

The ship is currently sailing with Costa Cruises from Istanbul, Turkey through December, and then will go into the shipyard for renovations before entering service as a Carnival ship .

With restrictions on lines returning to Asia, Carnival made the decision to reposition its two Chinese-built ships to North America to sail under Carnival Cruise Line.

A second ship, Carnival Firenze , will join the Carnival Cruise Line fleet in 2024 sailing from Long Beach, California.

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43 Carnival Cruise Line tips, tricks and hacks to enhance your vacation at sea

Erica Silverstein

Want to hear a secret that will enhance your upcoming Carnival cruise? How about 43?

Carnival Cruise Line 's affordable rates and plethora of U.S. departures means it attracts a lot of first-time cruisers. No matter how much research you do, it's hard to be completely prepared to step onto a ship for the first time.

You learn so much on that first sailing that you may wish you could go back and get a do-over to maximize your time on board and ashore.

For cruise news, reviews and tips, sign up for TPG's cruise newsletter .

As someone who's sailed Carnival for 15-plus years, I have learned a lot of useful information about how to make the most of a "Fun Ship" sailing.

Learn from my experiences — and mistakes. Here are 43 Carnival Cruise Line tips, tricks and hacks that you can use to get maximum enjoyment out of your first Carnival cruise or next vacation at sea.

Book early for low fares, but check the fine print

Carnival's Early Saver fares offer some of the lowest base prices for cruises outside of special promotions. They also come with price protection should the rate drop on your sailing after you've booked.

You can only book these fares on cruises departing more than two or three months from the booking date. However, make sure you read the fine print before committing. If you have to cancel or change your cruise before final payment date, you will be assessed a $50 per-person fee, and your deposit will be returned only as a future cruise credit that expires within the year.

In general, booking cruises early is a good idea to lock in the best rates, as well as the best cabin availability.

Book shoulder-season cruises to save

Carnival can be a budget-friendly line, but you can save more by sailing at less popular times of year.

For example, Alaska cruises in May and September will be cheaper than peak-season sailings in July. Caribbean cruises in November before the holidays will be more affordable than the same itineraries during winter or spring break weeks.

Take advantage of drive-to cruise ports

Carnival ships embark passengers from more U.S. ports than any other major cruise line.

That means beyond the main ports in Florida, New York and California, you can sail from places like Baltimore, Jacksonville, Charleston, Mobile, Norfolk and Tampa.

Driving to your cruise port can save you money over flying. Also, the older ships sailing from these destinations often have an abundance of affordable cabins.

Be rewarded for your military service

carnival cruises for 2023

Carnival Cruise Line rewards servicemen and women with a military appreciation gathering on every sailing, a Heroes Tribute Lounge on select ships and military discounts on every cruise .

Active and retired members of the U.S. and Canadian militaries can take advantage of a few extra dollars off their cruise bookings.

Use the best price guarantee to combat buyer's remorse

If the cruise fare drops within 48 hours of your booking, you can take advantage of Carnival's best price guarantee to receive 110% of the difference back in onboard credit.

The line also guarantees shore excursion pricing. The fine print is complicated, so make sure you understand it before submitting a claim.

You don't have to pay all at once

Various cruise payment plans are available for Carnival cruisers who need them.

Carnival EasyPay is available on select cruises booked at least five months in advance. Pay the deposit when you book, and the cruise line will charge your credit card once a month until the cruise is paid in full, with no added fees.

Alternatively, travelers can book their cruise and pay using Financing Powered by Uplift. It's essentially a loan that you can pay back over up to 18 months.

Earn more on your purchase when you pay with a rewards card

A cruise can be an affordable vacation or a hefty investment, so make sure you make the most of your purchase.

Book your Carnival sailing with a credit card that earns points, miles or cash back. Even better, use a card that earns extra rewards on travel purchases.

If you're in the market for a new card, apply for one before you book your vacation at sea and apply the cost of your cruise toward your minimum spend to earn the signup bonus.

Research your ship before you commit to it

carnival cruises for 2023

The oldest, smallest ships in Carnival's fleet are the 2,130-passenger Carnival Elation and Carnival Paradise. The newest, largest vessel is the 5,282-passenger Carnival Celebration .

All of the line's cruise ships, built over decades, do not offer all of the same public spaces, restaurants and cabin styles. Make sure you look up information about what your ship offers before booking. You don't want to get excited about a specific restaurant or onboard roller coaster only to discover it's not available on the ship you booked.

Protect your vacation investment with insurance

Life is unpredictable. A snowstorm, illness, car accident or flight delay could all cause you to miss your Carnival cruise.

If it would be a hardship to lose your cruise payment or pay out of pocket for last-minute travel changes, make sure you purchase travel insurance from a third-party provider to protect your vacation investment.

If you have pre-existing medical conditions, you'll need to sign up for a plan within a few weeks of booking your cruise.

Take advantage of stockholder benefits

Do you own 100 shares of stock or more in the Carnival Corporation? Cruise line stockholders are entitled to receive an onboard credit of $50 to $250, depending on the length of your cruise.

Alert the line at least four weeks before your sail date to request the credit. Once on board, you'll have free money to spend on drinks, specialty dining, shore excursions or souvenirs.

Book your drinks package before you sail

carnival cruises for 2023

A beverage package can be a great way to save on your bar bill if you typically order a lot of extra-fee sodas, beers and cocktails when you travel. Carnival Cruise Line has one of the most affordable beverage packages in the industry. Add it to your reservation before you cruise, and you can save 10% on the package price.

Book shore excursions in advance

You won't save any money by booking your shore excursions pre-cruise, but you will be able to lock in a spot on the tours you most want to take.

The most popular tours often sell out, especially ones with limited space (such as snorkel trips on small boats). You can always cancel if your plans change. Just do so more than 24 hours prior to sailing in order to get a full refund. Cancel on board and you'll be subject to a 25% cancellation fee. Tours canceled within 24 hours of arriving in that port are not eligible for any refunds.

Book specialty dining before you sail or as soon as you board

Carnival offers amazing free food, but its specialty restaurants are also worth the splurge if you're looking for variety or a date night out.

Its teppanyaki venues are hugely popular and often book up. If you want to make a reservation for an extra-fee eatery, you will want to reserve your spot as early as possible.

If you can, make restaurant reservations online as soon as you can after booking your cruise. If not, get on the ship as early as possible and reserve your table as soon as you get on board. Otherwise, you'll find yourself eating at 9 p.m. or missing out on the dining experience entirely.

Arrive a day early

When you fly or even drive to your cruise port on the day of your sailing, you're taking a risk that flight delays or traffic will cause you to miss your ship's departure.

It's always safer to build in some buffer time by planning to arrive in your embarkation port city the day before your ship is scheduled to set sail. It's an added cost, for sure, but it means you'll be less stressed going into your cruise vacation. You might also be able to explore a little in town before you board.

Choose an early arrival time

carnival cruises for 2023

Like many cruise lines these days, Carnival attempts to make the boarding process less chaotic and crowded by assigning cruisers boarding time slots – usually half-hour windows. While you won't be turned away if you turn up late (unless you're so late that embarkation has ended), you won't be allowed in the terminal if you show up early.

If you want to make the most of your time on board, choose an early arrival time by checking into your cruise as soon as possible. That way, you can be one of the first people on board and have extra time to make reservations, eat lunch before the crowds come and enjoy top-deck attractions before everyone else discovers them.

Pay more to get to the fun first

Suite guests and high-level members of Carnival's VIFP Club loyalty program receive extra perks and priority that average cruisers do not.

However, you can buy your way into a better cruise experience with Carnival's Faster to the Fun program. Perks include access to priority boarding on embarkation day, early access to your cabin to drop your bags, expedited luggage delivery, priority access to the guest services desk, priority dining reservations, priority boarding of water shuttles from ship to shore and flexible disembarkation options.

Pack bathing suits and closed-toe shoes in your cruise carry-on

Most cruisers hand their larger suitcases over to the porters at the cruise terminal, and the suitcases are delivered to their cabins later in the afternoon. Be smart about what goes in the bag you'll carry on board , so you can make the most of your first day on the ship.

Pack a bathing suit so you can hop in the pool, hot tub or water slides before they get crowded, and bring closed-toe shoes so you can try out Carnival's ropes course, roller coaster or elevated bicycle ride. You'll also want to carry electronics and valuables, and important medications on board with you as well.

Don't overpack — Carnival cruises are casual

carnival cruises for 2023

We know you want to take all your fun outfits on your vacation but overpacking means lugging around heavy suitcases and potentially paying extra to check multiple bags. A Carnival cruise is a casual affair, so it's easy to keep things simple and not overpack.

According to Carnival's dress code , jeans and nice shorts (i.e. not gym shorts or cut-offs) are acceptable dinner attire on most evenings.

A couple of evenings will be deemed Cruise Elegant, but you don't need a tux. Just look dressy, and you'll be fine. We've all seen people wear jeans on these nights, and no one turns them away. Or, eat at the buffet, where it's always casual.

Pick one color scheme so you don't need as many shoes. Also, feel free to wear items more than once — you'll never see most of these people again anyway.

Bring your own toiletries

Carnival cruise ships provide the bare minimum of toiletries — bar soap to wash your hands, dispensers of generic shampoo and body wash in the shower.

You'll be better off bringing your favorite skin and haircare brands. You'll also want to bring a first aid kit with common over-the-counter medicines, bandages, feminine hygiene products and aloe cream for sunburns.

In a pinch, you can usually purchase these items on board, but they'll be overpriced and restricted to only a few products.

Pack these other key items for your Carnival cruise

We know you're good with sunscreen and underwear, but there are a few cruise-specific items new cruisers might not think to add to their cruise packing list .

Carnival cabin walls are magnetic, so bring magnetic clips and hooks to keep baseball hats, lightweight jackets and shore excursion tickets off the desk and couch and neatly hung on the walls.

Lanyards are ideal, especially for little kids, to keep your cruise card close when your clothes don't have pockets. Pack towel clips to keep your pool towel from blowing off your lounge chair. Pick fun designs to readily identify your chair in the sea of sunbathers.

Bring your own beverages

Port and ship security will shut you down if you try to smuggle most alcoholic beverages on board.

However, Carnival does allow each guest to bring 12 cans or cartons of nonalcoholic drinks (like soda, juice or seltzer), as well as one bottle of wine. This can save you money if you don't buy a drinks package. You will be charged a $15 corkage fee if you wish to drink your own wine in an onboard restaurant or bar.

Download the Carnival HUB app

The Carnival HUB app is essential for planning your cruise both before and after you're on board. It allows you to make reservations for dinner and purchase tours, spa treatments and onboard Wi-Fi.

It allows you to view the daily schedule of activities and create a personal schedule of your favorites, peruse menus for onboard restaurants, check your onboard bill and look up deck plans of your ship. You can also order food delivered to your poolside lounge chair and text your friends for a nominal fee.

The app is free, and you do not need a cruise ship internet plan to access it.

Keep your phone in airplane mode

You'll use your phone for all sorts of things on a Carnival cruise — snapping photos, scanning QR codes to pull up menus and using the HUB app.

Purchase a Wi-Fi plan, and you can text, browse the internet and post to social media. However, you must remember to put your phone on airplane mode as soon as the ship sets sail. Otherwise, your phone will switch to satellite roaming, and you'll be charged an expensive fee for data and phone use while at sea.

Book the Bolt roller coaster soon as you board

carnival cruises for 2023

Bolt is Carnival's new roller coaster attraction found on Mardi Gras and Carnival Celebration. The thrill ride is tons of fun, but a maximum of four people can ride it at any one time. Reserve a spot as early as you can to make sure you get to try the attraction.

Because the roller coaster cannot operate when it's especially windy, the top-deck ride often gets shut down on sea days. Choose a port day for your turn on the coaster, or book a spot on the first sea day, so you have time to rebook if the attraction closes before you can ride it.

Request tables early for open-seating dining

When you want to eat at a non-reservation sit-down dining venue for breakfast and lunch (and dinner, if you've chosen Carnival's Anytime Dining plan), you must request a table on the HUB app, and you'll be alerted when one is ready.

Sometimes a table is ready right away. However, if you're aiming for a popular restaurant at dinner, you may be in for a wait.

Instead of booking immediately when you want to eat, request your dinner table 30 minutes early, especially if you want to eat between 6 and 7:30 p.m. At worst, you'll get a spot a little earlier or later than you desire, but you won't be forced to eat at 5 or 9 p.m.

Ask for a real menu

Carnival has gone digital with restaurant and bar menus. You can find them on the HUB app or by scanning the QR codes set on every table.

However, if you left your phone in the cabin or your eyes can't take the small print, ask for a traditional paper menu. The bars and restaurants always have some on hand.

Don't miss the sea day brunch

carnival cruises for 2023

One of Carnival's best-included meals is the sea day brunch, offered all morning long on days with no port stops.

The wide menu runs the gamut from traditional breakfast items to more savory lunch entrees and includes menu items you won't find on other days. If you don't get to try every dish you'd like, don't worry; you can always come back the next sea day.

You can sit down for lunch at specialty restaurants

At lunchtime, most Carnival cruisers flock to the line's counter-service venues — Guy's Burger, Shaq's Big Chicken, the pizzeria, the deli counter and the buffet.

However, don't forget about sit-down options, many of which are free. Both Cucina del Capitano and Chibang! offer complimentary lunches, or you can enjoy Emeril's New Orleans fare or sushi for an extra charge.

Take your little kids for breakfast with Dr. Seuss

carnival cruises for 2023

Once per cruise, Carnival transforms a section of one of its main dining rooms into a Dr. Seuss-themed wonderland and invites families to dine on whimsical morning fare.

Kid-friendly music plays in the background and favorite Seuss characters come out to pose for photos. The Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast (and, yes, you can order that famous storybook meal) does cost extra. Make reservations early in the cruise via the HUB app. This one's a must for the preschool set, but older kids might be too cool for Seuss school.

Look for breakfast venues beyond the buffet

Carnival ships have many overlooked breakfast spots that can make dining a pleasure when the buffet is packed.

You can find a buffet outpost of breakfast staples at Guy's Pig & Anchor Smokehouse, eggs and biscuits at Big Chicken and breakfast burritos at BlueIguana Cantina. Or, pick up a ready-made bite with your coffee at JavaBlue Cafe.

Ask for off-menu veggie burgers at Guy's Burger Joint

Guy's Burger Joint is an homage to the carnivore. Order up patties made from bacon or burgers covered in chili.

However, if you lean toward a more plant-based lifestyle, you can still indulge in burgers topped with onions and mushrooms from the toppings bar.

It's not on the menu, but you can request a veggie burger, and the dining staff can heat you up a meatless burger (with or without cheese). It might take a few minutes longer than the ready-made cheeseburgers, but it's worth the wait.

Don't miss the dinner show

Carnival's dining room staff is an energetic lot, and they strut their stuff in nightly song-and-dance routines in the ship's main restaurants.

It is perfectly acceptable to get up and dance along with them or wave your napkin to the beat. (But please, shake the crumbs out first.) Some crew members are more talented dancers than others, but everyone loves to join in the fun.

You don't have to finish your bottle of wine

It's always cheaper to buy wine by the bottle than by the glass, and Carnival's restaurants are no exception to this rule.

However, if you think you might want a glass or two with dinner on several nights, go ahead and order that bottle. If you don't finish it, Carnival's wait staff will save it for you, and you can request it on another night.

They'll even pass the bottles from one restaurant to the next, so you can order something special in the steakhouse and finish it in the main dining room the next night.

Say no to the souvenir glass

carnival cruises for 2023

Many fun drinks come in souvenir glasses, especially at Carnival's poolside bars. What you're going to do with a container that's shaped like Carnival's iconic split funnel once you're back home is anyone's guess.

Instead of cluttering up your suitcase with souvenir cups bound for the dusty back corners of your cabinets, ask for the same drink in a regular glass. It will also shave a buck or two off the cost of your drink.

Bring refillable bottles

Don't waste money and landfill space on endless bottles of water on your Caribbean cruise. Instead, bring a reusable water bottle and fill it up at the buffet or in your cabin each morning.

In the same vein, only coffee you pay for comes in a to-go cup. Bring a travel mug to get complimentary tea and coffee from the buffet and take it with you wherever you go on board.

Use your loyalty benefits

Free bottled water and cocktails, a special chocolate dessert, complimentary laundry and free specialty dining are some of the perks you can enjoy when you gain higher tiers of status in Carnival's VIFP Club loyalty program.

While some perks may be delivered to your cabin (such as souvenir gifts and special event invites), others you may need to seek out. Read up on which perks you're eligible for and be sure to take advantage of the money-saving offers.

Don't miss the Towel Animal Takeover

carnival cruises for 2023

Once per cruise, often on the last sea day, Carnival's room stewards really work their magic by "taking over" the pool deck with their towel animal creations.

Stop by the pool around breakfast time and you'll be amazed to find a different towel animal on every lounge chair, plus some extra-large critters huddled around the pools and hot tubs. It's a fun photo opp not to be missed.

Line up early for shows

Carnival's comedy shows and musical numbers in the Celebrations Central venues on its newest ships often have more demand than seats available. If you want to guarantee a spot at a specific show, or get a preferred seat without blocked sightlines, you'll need to line up early.

Don't think you can sneak into the end of the show before and stay through to the next one. Carnival staff will clear the theater before inviting the next crop of audience members in to find a seat.

Don't miss the live music

Carnival puts special emphasis on live music, and you can often find a solo artist or small ensemble performing in the atrium, casino, bar areas or by the pool. If you like pop songs by piano, the piano bar always attracts an enthusiastic crowd. Country, classical and covers — you can make your way through the musical gamut as you bar hop at night.

Take your little ones to Camp Ocean

Camp Ocean, Carnival's kids club, takes children as young as 2 and doesn't mind if your kid is still in diapers. This is unusual in the cruise world, as most kids clubs on other lines start at age 3.

In addition, the extra-fee Night Owls group babysitting (from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.) welcomes junior cruisers as young as 6 months. Parents can use these services to get a break or a night out away from their toddlers and tykes.

Watch sailaway from a secret deck

On many Carnival cruise ships, you can find small outdoor seating areas at the forward end of several of the cabin corridors. These tucked-away public verandas of sorts are not well known, so you can often have them to yourself during scenic cruising, such as sailaway or when you're approaching a port.

You'll know you're getting close to a secret deck when you find a door with a porthole window at the end of a cabin corridor, instead of another hallway with doors leading to forward-facing cabins. The doors are sometimes locked at night or in high winds, so try again later if you can't get through.

Don't double tip

Carnival adds an 18% service charge to your bill whenever you order a drink at a bar or pay for a meal at an extra-charge restaurant. Gratuities are automatically added to spa bills, as well.

You do not need to tip above this, though many passengers get confused or add a tip because they're used to always adding one back on land. Tip extra for impressive service if you like, but do not feel compelled to add an additional gratuity above the automatic one.

Seek out shade past the cabanas on Half Moon Cay

Half Moon Cay, Carnival's private island in the Bahamas, is a great stop for a beach day. Its shores are full of soft, white sand, but there's not much shade to be found for those of us who burn easily.

You can pay extra for a clamshell to cover your lounge chair or to rent a cabana . If you seek shade without a price tag, though, you do have an option — but you have to walk for it.

Head past the bars and cabanas and main rows of lounge chairs to the far side of the beach. Here's you'll find a few hammocks tucked among the trees and loungers you can pull into the shade. (You'll also find the off-duty crew hanging out here as well.)

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

  • The 5 most desirable cabin locations on any cruise ship
  • A beginners guide to picking a cruise line
  • The 8 worst cabin locations on any cruise ship
  • The ultimate guide to what to pack for a cruise
  • A quick guide to the most popular cruise lines
  • 21 tips and tricks that will make your cruise go smoothly
  • 15 ways cruisers waste money
  • The ultimate guide to choosing a cruise ship cabin

Coast Guard suspends search for Carnival Cruise Line passenger who went overboard

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A Carnival Cruise Line passenger went overboard on the line’s Carnival Magic ship on Monday.

Ronnie Peale, 35, went overboard 186 miles east of Jacksonville, Florida, the U.S. Coast Guard said. The Coast Guard suspended its search Wednesday after crews searched over 5,171 square miles.

“The decision to suspend the active search efforts pending further development is never one we take lightly," Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Hooper, Coast Guard District Seven search and rescue mission coordinator, said in a news release . "We offer our most sincere condolences to Mr. Peale’s family and friends.”

“He was reported missing by his companion late Monday afternoon and an initial review of closed circuit security footage confirms that he leaned over the railing of his stateroom balcony and dropped into the water at approximately 4:10 a.m. Monday,” a Carnival spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

The Coast Guard released the ship from search and rescue efforts and advised its captain to continue on to Norfolk, Virginia, the spokesperson said. The vessel was on a round-trip sailing from Norfolk to the Bahamas at the time of the incident, according to CruiseMapper .

Cruise ship overboard detection systems: What are they and why doesn't every ship have them?

Cruise ship medical facilities: What happens if you get sick or injured (or bitten by a monkey)

“The Carnival Care Team is providing support to the guest's companion and traveling party who are on board,” the spokesperson added.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation's Norfolk field office is investigating, with the help of other agencies, according to a spokesperson.

"The FBI typically has jurisdiction to investigate incidents on the high seas, and works closely with our partners in law enforcement and in the cruising industry to collect the evidence and facts of cases," the spokesperson said in an email, though they did not have additional details to share.

The incident comes after other overboard reports in recent months. The Coast Guard suspended search efforts for a Royal Caribbean International passenger who went overboard during a trans-Pacific sailing in April, and a woman died after going overboard on MSC Cruises’ Meraviglia vessel near Florida’s Port Canaveral in December.

Another Carnival passenger was rescued after going overboard from the line’s Carnival Valor ship in November.

Between 2009 and 2019, there were 212 overboard incidents around the world involving passengers and crew, according to statistics compiled for Cruise Lines International Association by consulting firm G.P. Wild (International) Ltd. Just 48 people were rescued.

Cruise ships have safeguards in place to keep passengers from going overboard and are required by the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010 to have rails that are "located not less than 42 inches above the cabin deck."

Cmdr. Jason Kling, Detachment Chief at the U.S. Coast Guard's Cruise Ship National Center of Expertise, which conducts compliance inspections of cruise ships embarking passengers in U.S. ports or embarking U.S. passengers, told USA TODAY in March that many cruise ships complied with that even before the law was enacted.

Nathan Diller is a consumer travel reporter for USA TODAY based in Nashville. You can reach him at [email protected].

clock This article was published more than  1 year ago

Carnival passengers recount ‘nightmare’ cruise as storm floods ship

Videos showed the Carnival Sunshine cabins and hallways flooding and ceilings leaking

Matthew Branham and his fiancée, Madison Davis, were lying by a Carnival Sunshine pool on Friday aboard a cruise returning to Charleston, S.C., from the Bahamas when an announcement came over the loudspeaker. The captain was expecting rougher weather that evening, but there was nothing to worry about. So Branham and Davis didn’t worry.

As the day went on, “We noticed it started getting cooler in the afternoon — much, much cooler,” said Branham, 25, of Castlewood, Va. “And then it was like a switch was flipped, and it literally turned into a nightmare.”

En route back to Charleston Friday night into Saturday, the Carnival Sunshine navigated into a strong storm system that battered the southeast over the holiday weekend. Videos emerged on social media showing cabins and hallways flooding, shop floors littered with destroyed merchandise and leaking ceilings . Passenger Brad Morrell snapped a photo of an automated instrument map reporting a 69 knot, or 79 mph, wind.

#CarnivalSunshine : Due to return to Charleston, South Carolina this Saturday, May 27, 2023, has been delayed due to severe weather. The ship is currently off the South Carolina coast and holding position, unable to return to the port because of high winds & rough seas. #cruise 🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/2B6HlAn2yD — ∼Marietta (@MariettaDaviz) May 28, 2023

Carnival said in a statement that the weather was unexpectedly strong, causing conditions that were rougher than forecast, but that its fleet operations center team, which relies on outside meteorology resources for itinerary planning, “coordinated to keep the ship in its safest location.”

“Attempting to sail out of the large front could have been dangerous,” the statement continued. “The ship proceeded to the port as soon as the weather began to clear.”

Strong Southeast storm slams Carolinas

Carnival said the captain made “several announcements about the weather and the delay it caused in returning to Charleston, asking guests to use extra precaution while walking around the ship.” Additionally, “some of the worst weather occurred in the overnight hours when announcements are not typically made, but guests and crew were safe.”

The ship’s medical staff did help a “small number” of guests and crew members who needed minor assistance following the storm. Despite the significant damage and a delay in schedule, Carnival Sunshine embarked on its next five-day Bahama sailing on Saturday.

From their sea-view room, Branham and Davis watched as waves surged over their window and braced themselves as the 892-foot-long ship lurched in the storm.

“Waves were hitting the boat so hard that it was like an earthquake experience, jarring you like a really rough roller coaster — even in the middle floor,” Branham said.

They were told to stay in their cabins. Meanwhile, Branham said, TVs were falling off walls, and glassware was sliding off shelves and shattering on the floor. “You could not stand up in your room,” he said. “You could be thrown from the bed.”

They packed up their belongings when their floor started to flood and took shelter in a main lobby area.

“All of the employees were sprinting downstairs with life vests,” Branham said. “There were little kids besides us screaming and crying and throwing fits.”

Throughout the storm, Branham wondered why there weren’t more announcements from Carnival staff. Besides the warning of rougher seas earlier Friday and one Saturday morning after they’d weathered the storm, Branham said they weren’t given any official updates on their situation. When he asked workers what was going on, they told him not to worry.

⁦⁦ @CarnivalCruise ⁩ #carnivalsunshine still 75mph winds at 9:25am. Sitting and spinning in the Atlantic. pic.twitter.com/NITCO2l9Ss — FlyersCaptain™®© (@flyerscaptain) May 29, 2023

“But you see rooms flooded, and you can pick up a handful of sand and you’re kind of like, ‘What in the world? Why is nobody telling us anything?’” Branham said.

Jim Walker, a maritime lawyer and cruise industry legal expert, says his firm has been contacted by some Carnival Sunshine passengers who were injured during the storm, including a man who says he was struck by a door and broke his foot. Others have asked him about the potential for a class-action lawsuit.

While Walker said passengers should make their complaints known to Carnival, he doesn’t believe filing a lawsuit would be an efficient next step. Instead, impacted passengers can ask Carnival for a refund or a credit for another cruise, although there’s no guarantee the cruise line will grant such requests.

Pete Peterson, owner of Storybook Cruises , which is affiliated with Cruise Planners, said cruise ships keep a close eye on weather developments and will adjust their itinerary depending on the severity of the storm.

“Cruise lines monitor the weather all the time. They’re not going to put their passengers in harm’s way,” said Peterson, who has been a cruise adviser for more than 20 years and has sailed on nearly 60 cruises. “Obviously, some cruise lines are better at doing this than others.”

In 2016, Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas returned to port after cruising into a “bomb cyclone,” which damaged the ship amid winds gusting to 100 mph. The ship sailed into the remnants of Hurricane Hermine seven months later, causing additional problems.

To ensure the safety and comfort of its passengers, a cruise ship can alter its course and circumvent the rough weather system. In stormy conditions, the crew can deploy the stabilizers, which will prevent the ship from rolling and bucking.

“You don’t experience the up and down,” Peterson said. “It’s not as rough a ride.”

Both approaches can add to a cruise line’s expenditures, Peterson said. Stabilizers slow the vessel, thereby consuming more fuel. Sailing around the storm can take longer than the original route and disrupt the company’s cruise schedule, leading to delays or cancellations. The cruise line may have to reimburse passengers or provide them with future credits because of the inconvenience.

“When they do something like that, it’s going to cost them money,” Peterson said.

Craig Setzer , a meteorologist and hurricane preparedness specialist, said that even with the hurricane-like conditions and flooding, “I would never be in doubt of the vessel’s integrity,” he said. “Cruise ships are structurally very, very sound and can survive a lot. They’re really rugged.”

Matthew Cappucci contributed to this report.

More cruise news

Living at sea: Travelers on a 9-month world cruise are going viral on social media. For some travelers, not even nine months was enough time on a ship; they sold cars, moved out of their homes and prepared to set sail for three years . That plan fell apart, but a 3.5-year version is waiting in the wings.

Passengers beware: It’s not all buffets and dance contests. Crime data reported by cruise lines show that the number of sex crimes has increased compared to previous years. And though man-overboard cases are rare, they are usually deadly .

The more you know: If you’re cruise-curious, here are six tips from a newcomer. Remember that in most cases, extra fees and add-ons will increase the seemingly cheap price of a sailing. And if you happen to get sick , know what to expect on board.

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News Release

Princess cruises announces extended 2025-26 japan & southeast asia cruise season.

Diamond Princess Returns to the Land of the Rising Sun for Expanded Program Showcasing Beautiful Fall Foliage

FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. , May 29, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- On the heels of record-breaking travel to Japan by U.S. visitors in 2023, and another strong season underway this year, Princess Cruises today announced it will extend the number of itineraries in Japan during the 2025-26 season.

Princess Cruises Announces Extended 2025-26 Japan & Southeast Asia Cruise Season

The 2025-26 cruise season to the must-see island nations of Japan and Southeast Asia onboard a Princess ship has just been announced. On sale now, Japan -built Diamond Princess returns featuring an expanded Japan season showcasing the region's breathtaking fall foliage, Mt. Fuji, Kyoto and more.

Terry Thornton , chief commercial officer for Princess Cruises . "For our fall 2025 through winter 2026 season, we're thrilled to expand our Japan cruises from Tokyo ( Yokohama ) during the beautiful fall foliage season and continue to Singapore to highlight the best of Southeast Asia . Plus, our guests only need to unpack once to experience these storied countries while enjoying vibrant shore excursions and our regional culinary and entertainment offerings onboard."

From ancient temples and castles, to bustling markets and breathtaking gardens, cruisers experience the best way to see Japan with Princess with a new fall 2025 season offering 11 new voyages ranging in length from nine to 22 days, visiting 25 destinations throughout the Land of the Rising Sun , as well as stops in Korea and Taiwan . Highlights of the season include:

  • 13-day Circle Japan Fall Foliage sailing taking place during the beautiful autumn leaves season
  • 9-day Circle Japan voyage a circumnavigation of the country with stops at Nagasaki , Akita and Sakaiminato
  • 9-day Southern Islands departures to the southernmost part of Japan and the lush islands of Okinawa and Ishigaki
  • 10-day Kyushu & Korea cruise, which sails these large islands of Japan including visits to Hiroshima , Osaka (for Kyoto ) and Shimizu (for Mt. Fuji)
  • For the ultimate Japan exploration, guests can combine these 18- to 22- day itineraries for an unforgettable 40-day adventure

Following her extended Japan season, Diamond Princess will sail to Singapore on a 12-day Southeast Asia & Japan cruise featuring Taipei (Keelung) and Hong Kong to kick off three roundtrip Singapore sailings including:

  • 16-day Malaysia , Thailand & Vietnam departure which also includes a call to Halong Bay , UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as a gateway to Hanoi
  • Closing the season will be a 14-day Southeast Asia & Japan sailing from Singapore back to Tokyo ( Yokohama ) with late night More Ashore stays in both Hong Kong and Shimizu (for Mt. Fuji)

Rob Floyd , soak in the traditional Izumi bath and enjoy folkloric shows, regional entertainment and Japanese holiday celebrations.

Additionally, the all-new Churrascaria Brazilian Grill offers quality meats boasting bold South American flavors, cooked to perfection in the tasty tradition of grilling churrasco style. Servers present these flavorful cuts on vertical skewers, and hand-carve them right onto the plate.

No matter the cruise, Princess delivers a premium vacation with the line's award-winning, signature Princess MedallionClass experience which offers unparalleled service and personalization. Guests booking can take advantage of inclusive packages like Princess Plus and Princess Premier which add popular amenities like WiFi, beverages, desserts, fitness classes, crew gratuities and more at an even greater savings of up 65% when the inclusive package amenities are purchased separately. 

Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel advisor, by calling 1-800-Princess (1-800-774-6237) or by visiting www.princess.com .

About Princess Cruises Princess Cruises is The Love Boat, the world's most iconic cruise brand that delivers dream vacations to millions of guests every year in the most sought-after destinations on the largest ships that offer elite service personalization and simplicity customary of small, yacht-class ships. Well-appointed staterooms, world class dining, grand performances, award-winning casinos and entertainment, luxurious spas, imaginative experiences and boundless activities blend with exclusive Princess MedallionClass service to create meaningful connections and unforgettable moments in the most incredible settings in the world - the Caribbean , Alaska , Panama Canal , Mexican Riviera, Europe , South America , Australia / New Zealand , the South Pacific, Hawaii , Asia , Canada /New England, Antarctica, and World Cruises . The company is part of Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE:CCL; NYSE:CUK). 

(PRNewsfoto/Princess Cruises)

SOURCE Princess Cruises

Negin Kamali, +1 661-753-1539, [email protected]; Briana Latter, +1 661-753-1538, [email protected]

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AIDA Cruises is the market leader in the German-speaking cruise market. Home of the smile, AIDA Cruises is the epitome of a premium-quality, relaxing cruise and operates one of the world’s most state-of-the-art fleets. Visit: www.aida.de

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Carnival Cruise Line, also known as America’s Cruise Line, is a leader in contemporary cruising and operates a fleet of ships designed to provide fun and memorable vacation experiences at a great value. Visit: www.carnival.com

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Costa Cruises delivers Italy’s finest at sea, bringing modern Italian lifestyle to its ships to provide guests with a true European experience that embodies a unique passion for life through warm hospitality, entertainment and gastronomy. Visit: www.costacruise.com

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Cunard is the epitome of British refinement for travelers who relish the line’s impeccable White Star Service, gourmet dining, world-class entertainment, and the legacy of historic voyages and transatlantic travel. Visit: www.cunard.com

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Holland America Line's premium fleet of spacious, elegant mid-sized ships feature sophisticated five-star dining, extensive entertainment and activities, innovative culinary enrichment programs and compelling worldwide itineraries. Visit: www.hollandamerica.com

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P&O Cruises (UK) is Britain’s favorite cruise line with a fleet of ships combining genuine service and a sense of occasion and attention to detail, ensuring passengers have the holiday of a lifetime, every time. Visit: www.pocruises.co.uk

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P&O Cruises (Australia) provides a quintessential holiday experience for Australians and New Zealanders, taking them to some of the world's most idyllic and hard-to-reach places across Asia and the South Pacific. Visit: www.pocruises.co.au

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Princess is the world’s leading international cruise line and tour company operating a fleet of modern cruise ships, renowned for the innovative design and wide array of choices in dining, entertainment and amenities. Visit: www.princess.com

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Seabourn provides ultraluxury cruising vacations in a unique, small-ship style that focuses on genuine, intuitive service, all-suite accommodations, superb cuisine and unique experiences in destinations worldwide. Visit: www.seabourn.com

Norwegian Cruise Line 2024 Investor Day Takeaways: She Sails Despite Debtweight

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  • Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has underperformed its peers in terms of stock market returns.
  • The company has updated its guidance for FY24, showing slight improvements in net yields.
  • Norwegian's focus on growth areas, such as ordering new ships and investing in private islands, could lead to additional growth in 2024.
  • My models still see ~25% upside after I account for debt servicing.


Adam Smigielski/E+ via Getty Images

Investment Thesis

Barring Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings ( NYSE: NCLH ), cruise stocks generally enjoyed 2024 with the organic demand tailwinds in their sail. Carnival Corp. ( CCL ) returned over 40% in 2023, while the largest cruise operator of them all, in terms of market cap, Royal Caribbean Cruises ( RCL ), delivered at least twice the returns as compared to Carnival Corp. in 2023. Compared to them, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings delivered sub-par performance, returning low double-digit returns in the stock market.

On a year-to-date basis, Norwegian’s stock continues to languish at the bottom, as seen in Exhibit A below, after projecting growth targets that missed consensus estimates .

Norwegian Cruise Line’s stock has severely underwhelmed so far in 2024

Exhibit A: Norwegian Cruise Line’s stock has severely underwhelmed so far in 2024 (sa)

Norwegian concluded their 2024 Investor Day, which showed some improvements in contrast to their previous FY24 projections.

Based on my analysis of Norwegian Cruise Lines' improved forecasts, I believe the stock now provides a compelling outlook, leading me to initiate a Buy rating on the stock.

Note: I will be referring to Norwegian Cruise Lines as just Norwegian in this note.

Updates to Guidance in 2024 Investor Day

First, Norwegian’s management batted itself into a corner in their Q1 earnings call when they projected a full-year FY24 outlook for the company’s expected net yield to grow 6.4% versus FY23. Net yields are an important headline metric for cruise operators that accounts for revenues earned from passenger ticket pricing and items passengers spend onboard the cruise, such as dining, massage, onshore activities, etc., after costs such as agent commissions, transportation, and other expenses.

Per Norwegian’s management, this was supposedly an upgrade in their outlook given that they had previously forecasted net yields to grow just 5.4% y/y in FY24. Obviously, this was not well appreciated, especially when Norwegian’s peers were guiding their respective FY24 net yields to grow in the ~10% mark. This definitely put pressure on Norwegian’s management, and they came out on Investor Day with some more updates to their FY24 guidance, with net yields looking slightly better. I have added this to the table below.

Here’s a screenshot from their Investor Day presentation that summarizes key forward-looking metrics in Exhibit B below.

Norwegian’s updated FY24 outlook

Exhibit B: Norwegian’s updated FY24 outlook (2024 Investor Day Presentation, Norwegian Cruise Lines)

Based on their updated net yield growth figures, that should translate to at least $9 billion in expected revenue this year, per slide.

One can see how Norwegian’s previous expected net yields were falling far behind the competition. This either pointed to slowing consumer trends that were uniquely seen in Norwegian’s cruise business or to management being conservative.

But Norwegian’s management sounded more optimistic in their Investor Day presentation versus their Q1 FY24 presentation as they presented growth areas that they were prioritizing.

The Miami-based cruise operator mentioned they have ordered 13 new ships, 4 of which are expected to replace aging ships this year, subject to financing. Each of these 13 ships is expected to increase passenger capacity by at least 9% on a per-ship basis, with their higher-end Oceania cruise ship capacity expected to increase by over 20% and their luxury line, Regent, seeing ships that will increase capacity by 13%. This seems promising since both their Oceania and Regent lines have a share of high-net-worth-income [HNI] cruisers. I’ve added a slide below in Exhibit C that shows how management plans to deploy their ships across cruise locations by 2026.

Norwegian Cruise Ship Deployment Plan by 2026

Exhibit C: Norwegian Cruise Ship Deployment Plan by 2026 (2024 Investor Day Presentation, Norwegian Cruise Lines)

Management also mentioned initiatives around investments that focus on private islands in the Bahamas/Belize region. This was also stated by management in their Q1 FY24 call, where they mentioned investments being made, especially in the Bahamas’ Great Stirrup Cay.

Investing in private islands is a smart idea, in my opinion, and is quite similar to the strategy used by its larger peer, Royal Caribbean, since this expands the scope for passengers to spend more onboard.

The bullish case for growth in Norwegian

There are two reasons why I believe Norwegian could see additional growth in 2024, and one of them is ironically the reason that constrained Norwegian’s from issuing stronger guidance.

First, the entire cruise industry continues to see growth in 2024, and most cruise operators announced record bookings in their individual Q1 earnings reports. According to the CLIA , as seen in Exhibit D, the number of ocean-going passengers is expected to rise by 12.6% in 2024, and growth is supposed to normalize between 2024 and 2026 at a ~4.4% CAGR more in line with the pre-pandemic growth rates of 4.5%.

Cruise tourism to remain resilient in FY24

Exhibit D: Cruise tourism to remain resilient in FY24 (CLIA)

The second reason that I find unique to Norwegian is based on the strength of their cruise passenger demographic, which sees them spend a lot more on the cruise. Per the Investor Day presentation, 84% of the company’s bookings originate from the USA/Canada region and are a mix of GenX and Millennial higher income passengers. The mix of HNI cruisers means more spending while on the cruise in addition to revenues that are earned from ticket bookings. In Exhibit E, I show how higher spend by passengers onboard Norwegian’s cruise vessels meant Norwegian saw relatively higher Onboard Revenue growth in FY23.

Norwegian’s passengers spend relatively higher once onboard the ship

Exhibit E: Norwegian’s passengers spend relatively higher once onboard the ship (Company sources)

In my opinion, this is a very meaningful revenue segment for Norwegian because Onboard Revenue accounted for ~49% of Norwegian’s revenues in 2023. Here’s another slide from their Investor Day that shows how customers spend onboard Norwegian’s cruise ships.

Passengers spend on Norwegian’s Cruise Ships

Exhibit F: Passengers spend on Norwegian’s Cruise Ships (2024 Investor Day Presentation, Norwegian Cruise Lines)

Given that cruise operators have reported strong bookings through Q1, I believe these trends will uniquely boost Norwegian’s outlook as we proceed through the year when most cruises have already set sail. I believe management will be conservative in guiding FY24 numbers since it is usually easier to predict bookings from ticket sales than onboard revenue.

These trends, in my opinion, will create lumpy performances in the first half of FY24 but should get better as we move through the second half of FY24, assuming there are no macroeconomic shocks that reverse the consumer spending outlook.

Norwegian’s Capital Structure Risks

I will admit that Norwegian’s balance sheet is a big risk, especially if the economy swings into recession, halting all consumer spending, especially discretionary spending.

There is no secret here that Norwegian is a debt-heavy business, which has gotten even larger after the company had to raise its debt levels by almost two times while at the same time diluting its share base to raise enough funds to keep the business afloat.

Per its recent 10-Q , Norwegian is severely indebted, carrying ~$14 billion in debt and about half a billion in cash. That means Norwegian will have to walk a thin line, refinancing its debt at interest rates it deems most favorable for itself and its shareholders while raising its cash flow outlook.

But as long as demand sustains and consumers continue to spend on cruises, Norwegian should be able to inch closer to holding debt leverage closer to its pre-pandemic levels. Management has issued some meaningful guidance towards raising cash flow targets into 2026, as I have attached in Exhibit G below.

Norwegian’s FCF targets through FY26

Exhibit G: Norwegian’s FCF targets through FY26 (2024 Investor Day Presentation, Norwegian Cruise Lines)

At the same time, management has also guided towards driving its debt leverage lower to its pre-pandemic levels, as I have illustrated in Exhibit H. While its interest coverage ratios are still low, I expect them to be higher based on my outlook for their adjusted EBITDA and management’s FCF outlook.

Norwegian’s Debt Leverage Goals

Exhibit H: Norwegian’s Debt Leverage Goals versus past trends (Company sources)

Despite its debt load, Norwegian has upside

My valuation models suggest that after I account for all the interest expenses towards servicing its high debt levels, I still believe Norwegian has upside. Here are my assumptions:

As laid out in Exhibit B and other sections, I expect sales will grow faster than their guidance levels. For now, I assume growth rates are in line with the cruise market and its peers in the high single digits. I also expect the total market growth rates to improve through the year, so I may update my revenue growth rates for Norwegian higher through the year.

I expect management to achieve at least 20 b.p. of adjusted EBITDA margin expansion on average per year between 2024 and 2026. Note that management has already guided FY24 adjusted EBITDA of around ~2.3 billion, which represents a margin expansion of 270 bp.

Discount rates of 13.2% to account for higher risk due to its debt load versus some micro-assumptions .

I have assumed a significantly higher share outstanding base of ~470 million. This is because Norwegian’s management has already guided a share dilution of ~$90 million, or ~10%, in FY24 to service some of its debt. I have added slightly higher dilution rates to account for the margin of error. Post FY24, I expect dilution rates to stabilize to ~1% as higher FCF yields should help in servicing debt.

Norwegian's Valuation Model

Exhibit I: Norwegian's Valuation Model (Author)

Based on my forecasts, I estimate adjusted EBITDA to be growing 13–14% while revenue should be growing in the 8–9% range. This should warrant a double-digit forward earnings multiple if I compare Norwegian’s EBITDA growth rate to the S&P 500 . However, after I account for ~$750 million of interest expenses to service debt, the net adjusted EBITDA left for investors to value implies a forward PE of ~5.

Based on my calculations, after accounting for debt servicing, I believe Norwegian still has between 24 and 26% upside. Of course, the company’s capital structure risks make this less appealing, leading me to recommend a Buy rating. Otherwise, I would have attached a Strong Buy rating.

Norwegian Cruise Line does have enough reason for investors to be skeptical about the stock. The inability to guide towards higher growth rates on par with its peers has not appealed to investors so far in 2024. At the same time, the company’s capital structure makes this less favorable to a broader range of investors.

However, I see strong demand in the cruise business, which should keep the momentum going for Norwegian. Plus, Norwegian’s unique customer mix of high-net-worth individuals should propel the company’s revenues higher into FY24.

I recommend a Buy on Norwegian Cruise Line’s stock.

This article was written by

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Analyst’s Disclosure: I/we have a beneficial long position in the shares of NCLH either through stock ownership, options, or other derivatives. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

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carnival cruises for 2023


  1. Cruises

    LEARN MORE Sail from Sydney or Brisbane for Aussie adventures or to exotic South Pacific Islands. Carnival cruise deals and cruise packages to the most popular destinations. Find great deals and specials on Caribbean, The Bahamas, Alaska, and Mexico cruises.

  2. Cruise Search: Find Your Perfect Carnival Cruise

    Book your Carnival cruise online using our convenient cruise search. Find a cruise based on date range, home port, destination & duration. Get started!

  3. Find the Best Cruise Deals for 2024-2026

    Find the cruise deal that's right for you. Take advantage of exclusive savings, limited-time offers, and deals on popular destinations including cruises to the Caribbean, The Bahamas, or Mexico! Save on your next vacation and book your cruise online with Carnival Cruise Line.

  4. Best Caribbean Cruises 2024-2026 with Carnival Cruise Line

    Princess Cays. Find the ideal mix of activities and relaxation in this private resort. Falmouth. Antigua. Bonaire. Bermuda. Grenada. Amber Cove. Amber Cove isn't just a Cruise Critic Top 5 — it's also one of our favorite destinations.

  5. 11 Top Carnival Cruise Deals You Don't Want to Miss

    Ports: Miami, Nassau. Price: $194. If inexpensive is what you're going for, as we go to press it doesn't get any cheaper than this. The cruise aboard Carnival Conquest from Miami is only three days, helping keep the price low. An interior cabin on the October 9, 2023 sailing starts at just $194 per person.

  6. Carnival Cruise Lines

    Skip to Main Content. Home; Short-Cruises; 2023

  7. Top Carnival Cruise Line Ships for 2023

    Carnival is known for having a well-rounded mix of included and specialty restaurants onboard its ships. These are the top five best Carnival ships in food and dining for 2023: Carnival Breeze - 4.179. Carnival Vista - 4.1788. Carnival Valor - 4.175.

  8. Carnival Magic

    Hashtag your cruise photos #carnivalmagic and you may see them right here. Carnival Magic is packed with cruise ship fun including delicious food and overthe-top entertainment which you will agree, earns its namesake. See photos, deck plans, staterooms, onboard activities, and itinerary options. Book your Carnival Magic cruise today!

  9. Guide to All 27 Carnival Cruise Ships

    Initially built in 2019 for Costa Cruises, this ship joined the Carnival fleet in 2023. Carnival Venezia is ideal if you're looking for a ship that celebrates one of Italy's most iconic cities.

  10. The ultimate guide to Carnival Cruise Line ships and itineraries

    They are roughly 35% bigger than the line's next-biggest ship. One more ship in the series — Carnival Jubilee — will arrive in December 2023. The 25 Carnival ships currently in operation can be broken down into eight classes: Fantasy, Spirit, Conquest, Splendor, Dream, Sunshine, Vista/Venezia and Excel.

  11. Carnival Magic's 2023 Sailings from Norfolk Now Open for Reservations

    Download Visual Assets. Reservations opened today for a series of four- to eight-day sailings from Norfolk, Va., aboard Carnival Magic in 2023. In total, 11 voyages will depart from Norfolk's Half Moone Cruise Center in summer and fall 2023, visiting beautiful destinations in Bermuda, The Bahamas, and, for the first time, Canada and New England.

  12. Carnival Cruise Deals (2024 / 2025)

    4 night Caribbean. Carnival Cruise Lines • Carnival Paradise. Sep 8, 2024 — Sep 12, 2024. Tampa, United States • Cozumel, Mexico • Tampa, United States. Itinerary details. Best deals on Carnival (CV) to the most popular destinations for 3, 4, 5 day cruises.

  13. Carnival Cruise Reviews (2024 UPDATED): Ratings of Carnival Cruise Line

    1 - 10 of 27,721 Carnival Cruise Reviews. First timer. Review for a Bahamas Cruise on Carnival Elation. Play Name. First Time Cruiser • Age 40s. Read More. Sail Date: May 2024. Traveled with ...

  14. Comparing Carnival Cruise Line ship sailings to Alaska in 2023

    For 2023, Carnival Spirit is replacing Carnival Freedom homeporting in Seattle, a convenient option for many on the West Coast. Sailing on 7 day voyages, the ship will visit a number of ports, including Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan, Alaska. The ship will also stop in Victoria, British Columbia, as well as cruising Tracy Arm Fjord.

  15. The best Carnival Cruise Line itineraries: 5 great places its ships go

    For 2023, Carnival is offering sailings to Bermuda on three ships: the 3,690-passenger Carnival Magic, the 2,124-passenger Carnival Legend and the 4,208-passenger Carnival Venezia. The latter ship is a Costa Cruises vessel that Carnival began operating in May 2023 .

  16. A Look at the Carnival Celebration's 2023 Itineraries

    After debuting in November 2022, the new Carnival Celebration is spending its first full year in service in 2023. Cruise Industry News takes a closer look at the ship's deployment for the year. Offered regularly by the Carnival Celebration through 2023, this seven-night cruise to the Eastern Caribbean includes visits to three ports in the region.

  17. Carnival Cruise Deals

    Mexico from $214. Panama Canal/C. America from $889. Transatlantic from $689. U.S. from $694. Book now & Save up to 80% on cruises to the Caribbean, Bahamas, Alaska, Mexico, and more! Explore Carnival's 'Fun Ships' + Priceline's unbeatable deals.

  18. Alaska Cruises 2024-2026 with Carnival Cruise Line

    Alaska cruises will do it with quaint seaside towns like Ketchikan and Skagway, and with stunning harbor vistas like Juneau's. Cruising Alaska will also give you a first-row ticket to the best of nature — including fjords, wildlife and mountains galore. "Oh, mother nature… now you're just showing off.". Get up and go glacier-gazing ...

  19. Carnival Cruise Line

    In 2023 starts the "COSTA by CARNIVAL" cruise program (CCL and Costa Cruises) that targets CCL's North American customers. The program is based on two newbuild Costa ships - Venezia (starting in June 2023 with homeporting in NYC New York USA) followed by Firenze (starting in May 2024 with homeporting in Long Beach/Los Angeles California USA ...

  20. Carnival Venezia 2023 Itineraries Detailed for North America

    Carnival Venezia will kick off service with a 15-night transatlantic cruise that will depart Barcelona on May 29, 2023 bound for New York City with stops in Málaga, Gibraltar, Lisbon, Ponta ...

  21. 43 Carnival Cruise Line tips, tricks and hacks to enhance your vacation

    Cruise line stockholders are entitled to receive an onboard credit of $50 to $250, depending on the length of your cruise. Alert the line at least four weeks before your sail date to request the credit. Once on board, you'll have free money to spend on drinks, specialty dining, shore excursions or souvenirs.

  22. 5 big changes coming to Carnival Cruise Line in 2023

    The following rates are effective on sailings embarking after April 1, 2023: Gratuities for guests in standard staterooms will increase from $14.50 to $16.00 per person, per day. Gratuities for guests in suites will increase from $16.50 to $18.00 per person, per day. You can, however, lock in the current rates by going to "My Cruise Planner ...

  23. Carnival Jubilee Voted Best New Cruise Ship of 2023

    Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Viva came in a distant third, with 14.88% of the votes. Best New Cruise Ship of 2023. The highly-anticipated Carnival Jubilee, now the cruise line's flagship ...

  24. Carnival cruise passenger goes overboard

    A Carnival Cruise Line passenger went overboard on the line's Carnival Magic ship on Monday. Ronnie Peale, 35, went overboard 186 miles east of Jacksonville, Florida, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

  25. Carnival Sunshine passengers recount 'nightmare' cruise as ship floods

    Videos showed high waves and large whitecaps rocking the cruise ship Carnival Sunshine as it returned to port in Charleston, S.C., on Saturday. ... May 27, 2023, has been delayed due to severe ...

  26. Princess Cruises Announces Extended 2025-26 Japan & Southeast Asia

    Diamond Princess Returns to the Land of the Rising Sun for Expanded Program Showcasing Beautiful Fall Foliage. FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla., May 29, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- On the heels of record-breaking travel to Japan by U.S. visitors in 2023, and another strong season underway this year, Princess Cruises today announced it will extend the number of itineraries in Japan during the 2025-26 season.

  27. Norwegian Cruise Line 2024 Investor Day Takeaways: She Sails Despite

    Carnival Corp. returned over 40% in 2023, while the largest cruise operator of them all, in terms of market cap, Royal Caribbean Cruises , delivered at least twice the returns as compared to ...